A Saudi woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for defying a ban on women driving in the Kingdom, while another women was arrested in the capotal. Sheima Jastaniah was sentenced on Monday by a court in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, where she was caught driving in July. Jastaniah had refused to talk to media about her case and was shocked to hear that she was sentenced to 10 lashes. Jastaniah will appeal the verdict.
The sentence comes a day after King Abdullah announced allowing women to vote and run in municipal polls, and to join the all-appointed Shura Council, a first in a country that imposes many restriction on women. Women rights activista Madiha al Ajrush was detained briefly Tuesday in Riyadh after she was caught driving around the capital with a French freelance journalist who was working on a video documentary on women.
The journalist said she herself was set free after her consulate intervened, while Ajrush was later released according to posts by the Women to Drive campaign on the group’s twitter page. Women to Drive said police requested a male guardian to sign a pledge that Ajrush would not drive, but when no one was reached, she was told to sign herself and leave.
There is no law banning women from driving. But the minister of interior formally banned women from driving following a protest staged in 1990