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Saudi Arabia: Twin Brothers Charged with Islamic Crime of Hiraba

(Feb. 9, 2018) On January 16, 2018, the Criminal Court of Riyadh began the trial of twin brothers accused of killing their 67-year old mother; attempting to kill their 73-year-old father and twenty-two year old brother; and accusing the rulers, police, and Muslim scholars of apostasy. (Saudi Arabia: Twins on Trial in Al-Hamra District Case […]

Bahrain: Women’s Rights Activists Launch Campaign to Amend Citizenship Law

(Oct. 31, 2017) The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS), in conjunction with other Bahrain women’s rights groups and various Members of Parliament (MPs) and the business community, has launched a campaign to extend equal citizenship rights to women by amending a provision of the country’s citizenship law.  (Huge Support for Gender Equality in Bahrain’s […]

Egypt: Fatwa Permits Females to Have Permanent Tattoos

(Oct. 18, 2017) On October 9, 2017, the former Grand Mufti of Egypt (the main, official religious scholar), Sheik Ali Gomaa, issued a new fatwa (religious decree) allowing women to have permanent inked tattoos on their bodies. However, the same religious decree bans males from getting permanent tattoos. (Getting Tattoo Permissible for Girls, Sin for […]

Israel: Landmark Decision on Child Support

(Aug. 3, 2017) On July 19, 2017, Israel’s Supreme Court, in an extended panel of seven justices, unanimously accepted appeals against decisions rendered by the district courts of Central-Lod and of Haifa to the effect that the responsibility for child support for children 6 to15 years of age who were under the shared custody of […]

United Arab Emirates: Good Samaritan Pays Blood Money to Save Young Men from Execution

(June 15, 2017) An appeals court in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, issued a decision on May 25, 2017, absolving ten young Indian men from Punjab of the murder of a Pakistani fellow worker. The men were pardoned after a Dubai-based businessman paid blood money to the victim’s father.  (Anju Agnihotri Chaba, Back from Death […]

Saudi Arabia: Shura Council Denies Social Media Reports on Resolution to Allow Women to Drive

(June 7, 2017) The official spokesman of Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council has denied social media reports that went viral at the end of March claiming that the Council was forwarding a resolution to the Council of Ministers seeking approval for the country’s women to drive. (Tariq A. Al-Maeena, Getting Behind the Wheel in Saudi Arabia, […]

Georgia, Kyrgyzstan: Marriages of Minors Prohibited

(May 9, 2017) As of January 1, 2017, article 15073 of the Civil Code of Georgia, which had temporarily allowed marriages of minors, became obsolete.  (Law No. 4646 of December 16, 2016 on Amending the Civil Code of Georgia, MATSNE.GOV.GE (official publication) (in Georgian).)  The article was a transitory provision that had remained in effect […]

Israel: Rabbinical Courts May Recommend Social Religious Sanctions Against Husbands Who Refuse to Divorce

(May 2, 2017) On February 28, 2017, Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice, in a five-to-two decision, rejected an appeal lodged by two Jewish husbands against (separate) rulings by rabbinical courts to subject the men to the application of 12th century social/religious sanctions not expressly authorized under Israeli law.  (HCJ 5185/13 […]

Israel: Supreme Court Prohibits Third Party Appeal over Legitimacy of Divorce

(Apr. 28, 2017) On March 30, 2017, Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice, accepted an appeal against a Rabbinical Court of Appeals decision to review an appeal submitted by an unrelated third party against the legitimacy of a get (Jewish divorce document) recognized by the regional rabbinical court. (HJC 9261/16 Anonymous […]

Saudi Arabia: Religious Decree Forbids Chess

(Jan. 28, 2016) On January 21, 2016, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti, of the Sunni sect of Islam, who represents the formal religious institution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, issued a religious decree to ban the game of chess. He stated that he had issued the fatwa forbidding chess because it is like […]