Saudi King halts woman driver's lashing

Sept. 29, 2011 at 6:58 AM
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabian King Abdullah has voided the lashing sentence handed down to a Saudi woman for driving her car, reports indicate.

Princess Amira Al Taweel, wife of the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, posted on her Twitter page: "Thank God, the lashing of Sheima is canceled. Thanks to our beloved King. I'm sure all Saudi women will be so happy, I know I am," The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Arab news channel al-Arabiya also reported the 10-lash sentence was revoked, but neither the Saudi government nor the royal court has released an official comment.

A court in Jeddah sentenced the woman, Shaima Ghassaniya, Monday, one day after women in Saudi Arabia got the right to vote and seek office in local elections in 2015, the Post said.

The sentence drew condemnation by rights groups, including Amnesty International, which said it exemplified the "scale of discrimination against women in the kingdom."

Saudi women have been protesting the ban on women driving for several months by getting behind the wheel. Even though the kingdom has no laws that prohibit women from driving, conservative religious edicts have banned it in Saudi Arabia.

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