Two months after more than 1,500 people across the world joined a campaign on Change.org calling on Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to formally pardon Shaima Jastaniya for defying a ban on female driving. Due to international outcry, King Abdullah interceded and pardoned Shaima’s sentence. Saudi authorities however, are reportedly still planning on moving forward with the sentence of 10 lashings.
Just two months ago, Saudi woman Shaima Jastaniya was arrested and sentenced to ten lashes for driving. Shaima was found guilty of driving in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. Shaima, who has an international driver’s license, says she was driving a family member to the hospital.
Shaima’s situation - alone at home with a family member who needs medical attention - is far from uncommon. Unable to drive, women are forced to hire drivers - which can be expensive and dangerous - or rely on waiting for male relatives to find the time to drive them around. The ban is not only a daily inconvenience but it has also exposed many women to financial, social and psychological exploitation by their male relatives and drivers.
Saudi Arabia, one of the strongest and longest standing US allies in the Middle East, is also the only country on earth where women are not allowed to drive and often dubbed ‘the world's largest women's prison’. The lack of freedom of movement places an extreme burden on women’s lives.
Demand that the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Justice uphold King Abdullah’s decision and reverse Shaima Jastaniya’s flogging sentence! No woman should have to face flogging for driving.