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Malaysia; Saudi Arabia: Journalist Deported to Face Blasphemy Charges

(Feb. 17, 2012) On February 9, 2012, the police in Malaysia detained a journalist from Saudi Arabia, Hamza Kashgari; on February 12 he was sent back to Saudi Arabia. Kashgari had landed at the international airport at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and the detention was pursuant to a request made through Interpol by the Saudi […]

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 […]

Saudi Arabia: Arrest of Woman for Driving

(June 2, 2011) Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi woman, was arrested in Dammam on May 21, 2011, for posting a clip on YouTube showing her driving a car. Dammam is the largest city of the oil-rich Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi authorities held a press conference the same day to address the issue of […]

Saudi Arabia: Call for a Boycott of Municipal Elections

(May 5, 2011) In a petition published on the Internet, 67 Saudi activists, journalists, and intellectuals called for a boycott of the upcoming Saudi municipal council elections scheduled for September 22, 2011. The signatories stated that they call on all those who are qualified to participate as candidates or voters to join them in the […]

Saudi Arabia: Women Seek Participation in Upcoming Municipal Elections

(Apr. 22, 2011) In April 2011, Saudi women activists wrote a memo to the designated authorities in the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs requesting rights for female voters and candidates in the upcoming municipal elections. Many Saudi women have opposed the ban imposed by the Saudi government on the registration of female voters and […]

Saudi Arabia: The Municipality Election

(Apr. 18, 2011) On March 23, 2011, the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs of Saudi Arabia announced that the municipal elections in that country will begin with the voter registration process scheduled for April 23 through May 19. The election will take place on September 22, 2011. This is the second municipal election that […]

Saudi Arabia: The Regime Invokes Sharia Law to Prevent Public Protest

(Mar. 10, 2011) In a declaration issued on March 6, 2011, the Council of Senior Religious Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia warned against “deviant intellectual and partisan connections and anything that leads to disunity and fragmentation of the nation.” (The Council of Senior Religious Scholars in Saudi Arabia Prohibits Demonstrations [in Arabic], ASHARQ […]

Saudi Arabia: Sponsorship System for Foreign Workers Will Not Be Abolished

(Jan. 25, 2011) On January 21, 2011, the Minister of Labor of Saudi Arabia announced that the government has no intention of abolishing the sponsorship system in the Kingdom. Known as kafala, the sponsorship system includes a pledge by employers to physically and legally protect and financially support a foreign worker. However, the Minister stated […]

Saudi Arabia: Royal Decree Limits Authority to Issue Fatwas

(Aug. 25, 2010) In August 2010, King Abdu Al Aziz bin Saud issued a Royal Decree limiting the authority to issue fatwas (religious opinions concerning Islamic law) to Muslim scholars who are members of the Grant Scholars Association. The purpose of this decree is to prevent confusion generated by the issuance of fatwas by different […]

Saudi Arabia: Royal Decree Overturns Court Decision Against Female Journalist

(Dec. 4, 2009) On October 26, 2009, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree abolishing a criminal court sentence of 60 lashes and a two-year travel ban against a female journalist, Rosanna Al-Yami. Al-Yami was sentenced for working at the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. (LBC), which broadcast an episode of a television show known […]