Saudi Woman to be Flogged for Driving

September 27, 2011  

A woman in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to be flogged for daring to operate a motor vehicle on Tuesday.

Activists told the Associated Press that Shaima Ghassaniya was found guilty of defying the kingdom’s de facto ban on women driving and sentenced to 10 lashes.

No Saudi law formally prohibits women from driving, but conservative religious edicts from Wahabist Imams have banned it.

The ruling comes just days after King Abdullah announced, for the first time, women would have the right to vote and run in the Saudi Arabia’s elections in 2015.

Najalaa Harriri, also facing court for operating a motor vehicle, told The Associated Press driving allowed her to take better care of her children. Several other women have been detained and await sentencing as well.

Tuesday’s verdict is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, where some observers wonder, if women are forbidden to drive, how they will get to the polls.

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