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Saudi Arabia: King Overturns a Woman’s Lashing Sentence

(Oct. 4, 2011) On September 29, 2011, the King of Saudi Arabia granted a reprieve to a female driver who had been sentenced by a Saudi court to the punishment of ten lashes. The court had found the woman guilty of challenging the ban imposed on women drivers. Traffic regulations in Saudi Arabia prohibit women from obtaining driver's licenses. (The Saudi King Saves a Woman from 10 Lashes, AL WAFD (Sept. 29, 2011).)

This court decision came two days after the King's statement before the Saudi Shura Council (Parliament) suggesting that women be granted the right to vote and run for office in the 2013 municipal elections. In his annual speech before the Shura Council, King Abudallah Ebn Abdu al Aziz offered Saudi women the right to vote for the first time in the history of the Kingdom. He also announced that women will be allowed to compete as candidates in the next municipal elections and will be eligible to serve as members of the Shura Council. (A Saudi Court Sentenced a Woman to Lashes for Driving a Car [in Arabic], AL SHORUK (Sept. 28, 2011).)