Saudi woman sentenced to 10 lashes for defying ban on female drivers
by Douglas Stanglin (September 27, 2011)
A Saudi court has sentenced a Saudi woman with 10 lashes for defying the kingdom's ban on women driving, Saudi actvists tell the Associated Press.
Activist Samar Badawi says Shaima Ghassaniya was found guilty of driving without the government's permission in Jeddah in July. No laws prohibit women from driving, but conservative religious edicts have banned it.
Today's verdict is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. Other women were detained for several days, but had not been sentenced by a court, the AP reports.
The BBC reports that Women2drive, which campaigns for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, says she has already appealed the conviction.
The BBC says two other women are due to appear in court later this year on similar charges.
Najalaa Harriri, who is also facing court for driving, tells the AP that she needed to drive to take better care of her children.
This weekend, Saudi King Abdullah announced, for the first time, that women have the right to vote and run in the country's 2015 local elections.