Category: Women’s Rights

Maldives President Rejects Law Banning Husbands from Raping Divorced Wives to Infect them with AIDS as “UnIslamic”

marital rape

“Run, run for it now.”

I’m not sure if Islamic law is the worst thing ever… but it’s probably the worst thing ever for women.

I keep hearing that Mohammed was the original feminist and that Islamic law protects women. Also the State Department praised the moderate Muslim president of moderate Muslim Maldives for being elected through democratic values.

Nothing says democratic values like rape, Islamic law and being the brother of a tyrant.

The US has congratulated Abdulla Yameen on him being elected as the new President of the Maldives, and called the association between the two countries as “a long history of cordial relations”.

“The extraordinarily high turnout on November 16th was a tribute to the Maldivian people’s commitment to the democratic process and democratic values,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters yesterday.

Yameen is the half-brother of former autocratic ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

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Maldivian president rejects ‘un-Islamic’ ban on some forms of marital rape

By: News Desk

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, center, was sworn into the presidency on Nov. 17, 2013. Photo by Maldivian government (press release).

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen refused to sign a bill Thursday that criminalizes some forms of marital rape, Religion News Service reported. Though the bill passed parliament with 67-2 vote, Yameen rejected the legislation, which limits a husband’s right to demand sex from his wife, because it was “un-Islamic.

The bill did not criminalize all marital rape, but banned it under the following circumstances:

  • if a case for dissolution of a marriage is in court
  • while a divorce, filed by the husband or wife, is pending a court hearing
  • if the intent of intercourse is to transmit a sexually transmitted disease
  • if the couple agrees to a mutual separation

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Egypt’s new constitution gets 98% ‘yes’ vote

Supporters of Egypt's army chief Sisi

Egypt’s new constitution strengthens the country’s military, the police and the judiciary, as well as giving more rights to women. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

Over 98% of participants in the first Egyptian vote of the post-Morsi era voted in favour of approving a new constitution, the country’s electoral commission officially announced on Saturday.

Egypt‘s government hailed the result as a resounding show of support for the direction the country has taken since the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi last July.

“This is a wonderful day for Egypt, Egyptians and for democracy, despite the extraordinary circumstances,” a spokesman for Egypt’s interim presidency, Ehab Badawi, said in a statement ahead of the official announcement. “This vote represents a resounding rejection of terrorism and a clear endorsement of the roadmap to democracy, as well as economic development and stability.”

After a campaign in which several no-campaigners were arrested and the government said participation was a patriotic duty, the poll’s turnout is also seen as a significant indicator of the level of public support for the process.

According to officials, the turnout was a respectable 38.6% – higher than the 33% who voted in a referendum during Morsi’s tenure, but lower than the 41.9% who turned out in a similar poll following Egypt’s 2011 uprising.

Egypt’s new constitution strengthens the country’s three key institutions – the military, the police and the judiciary. It also gives more rights to women and disabled people, and removes certain Islamist-leaning clauses inserted under Morsi, while maintaining the principles of Islamic sharia as the main source of legislation.

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By: Mohamed Khodr

“As for the believers, both men and women they are allies to one another. They enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and are constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, and pay heed unto God and His Apostle. It is they upon whom God will bestow His grace: verily, God is almighty and wise”

–Qur’an: 9:71


“The rights of women are sacred. See that women are maintained in the rights assigned to them.”

–Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)


“Saudi Arabia is a puritanical state that claims a monopoly of wisdom and virtue”.

–The Honorable James Buchan; Scottish Novelist and Journalist

Twelve Saudis were arrested on October 26-27 for posing a grave threat to Saudi Arabia’s security and masculine misogynist interests. All were immediately charged for the same crime and referred to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution. The Saudi Ministry of the Interior said it has taken the appropriate measures to prevent such crimes in the future.

Their heinous crime: Driving While Female (DWF)

Driving While Female is a Crime in Saudi Arabia; the   ONLY nation that denies Women this basic right and freedom.

Sixty courageous Saudi women on October 26 dared to defy this outrageous and Un-Islamic ban on women driving despite governmental threat of arrest and punishment.

These women will be remembered as the Rosa Parks of Saudi Arabia who refused to surrender their right to drive and who thus began a civil rights struggle which will take time but with God’s help will eventually  succeed.  Like Rosa Parks they will succeed in this noble effort during their lifetime.

This driving ban against women is simply a result of the racist and gender bias of a patriarchal and puritanical Wahbist kingdom where women are only wombs and servants to men.

Such sex discrimination goes against the most basic tenets of Islam where men and women are blessed h equal human rights..

Saudi Araba --the only Muslim nation that follows the tyrannical and violent Wahhabi sect.
Saudi Araba –the only Muslim nation that follows the tyrannical and violent Wahhabi sect.

Saudi Arabia is the ONLY Muslim nation and the only nation in the world that bans women from driving. The corollary to this is that the other 56 Muslim nations that allow women to drive are, unlike Saudi Arabia, are defying Islamic teachings.

In face of this oppressive denial of Saudi women driving there arose courageous Saudi women to challenge the all powerful whims and nonsensical fatwas of the Shura Council, a council created to subjugate the masses but avoids dealing with the corrupt immorality of the ruling family.

The most visible courageous face and voice for the right of Saudi women to drive is Manal Al Sharif; a 33 year old wife and mother of a son.  She is highly educated and works in the field of computer science and software development.  She has won several awards for her professional work and now for her activism to free Saudi women from the iron fist of the Shura Council.

Manal, the driving force behind the campaign to gain Saudi women the right to drive said: “We won’t stop until the first Saudi license is issued to a woman”.

Below is a Video of Manal Al-Sharif speaking.  Her eloquence is incredible.

Saudi women should know that the entire world, Muslim and Non-Muslim, men and women of all ages, races, ethnic groups, and color stand with you and support your rights to live free of all oppression and have the free right to drive in your misguided country.

Islam forbids the oppression of anyone and puts the onus on the Muslim community to fight oppression anywhere and against anyone in the world be it a ruler, a government, or a group regardless of their faith until the oppression ends.

Justice is the paramount goal and objective of a Muslim society as repeatedly addressed in the Holy Qur’an.   It is a religious duty and an important part of worshiping God.   Thus every Muslim must stand firmly against all injustice regardless of who is the perpetrator.


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Saudi Arabia ‘arrests Kuwaiti woman for driving diabetic father to hospital’

Kuwait Times reports that woman had been driving just over the border in Saudi Arabia when she was stopped by police

Saudi woman driving

The arrest comes a week after Saudi women got behind the wheel to protests against the kingdom’s ban on female drivers. Photograph: AP

A Kuwaiti woman was arrested in Saudi Arabia for trying to drive her father to hospital, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported on Sunday, a week after Saudi women protested against a ban on female drivers.

Kuwaiti women are free to drive in their country and enjoy far more rights than those in Saudi Arabia, who are not allowed to travel abroad, open a bank account or work without permission from a male relative.


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I suppose that  since they  can  no longer  claim that  Women  driving is  against  Sharia  Law  they  must  say  something.  The  excuse of damaged  ovaries  is as  good  as  any ,  especially  if  you are  counting  on   compliance  and  subservience…….Hmmmm.


How’s that compliant and subservient thing  working  for  you ????

~Desert Rose~


Al Arabiya News

Last Update: Saturday, 28 September 2013 KSA 07:27 – GMT 04:27
Saturday, 28 September 2013
Saudi Sheikh Salah al-Luhaydan said driving “could have a reverse physiological impact” on women. (Al Arabiya)
Al Arabiya

Saudi women seeking to challenge a de facto ban on driving should realize that this could affect their ovaries and pelvises, Sheikh Salah al-Luhaydan, also a psychologist, told Saudi news website

Driving “could have a reverse physiological impact. Physiological science and functional medicine studied this side [and found] that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis. This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees,” Sheikh al-Luhaydan said.

Saudi female activists have launched an online campaign urging women to drive on Oct. 26.

More than 11,000 women have signed the declaration that says: “Since there are no clear justifications for the state to ban adult, capable women from driving. We call for enabling women to have driving tests and for issuing licenses for those who pass.”

Sheikh al-Luhaydan urged these women to consider “the mind before the heart and emotion and look at this issue with a realistic eye.”

“The result of this is bad and they should wait and consider the negativities,” he said.

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Saudi women seek right to drive

A Saudi woman sits in a vehicle as a passenger in Riyadh (22 Sept 2013)
Stuck in the passenger seat: Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

A new campaign asking for the right for women to drive in Saudi Arabia has attracted more than 11,000 signatures in support.

The campaign has set 26 October as a day for Saudi women to take to the roads – in defiance of the informal ban on women behind the wheel.

In a sign of how pervasive online social networks have become in Saudi Arabia, the campaign was started on Twitter.

It is the idea of the activist, Eman al-Nafjan, who set things in motion with a simple message saying that Saudi women would express their feelings about driving on 26 October.

“There is no justification for the Saudi government to prohibit adult women citizens who are capable of driving cars from doing so”

Petition for women’s driving rights

The hope is that women will come out en masse to drive on that day, she told the BBC.

Ms Nafjan says the campaign is meant to be a grassroots movement open to all Saudis – men as well as women – to show their support.

Influential Saudis have given their public backing, while several videos of women driving have been posted on the campaign’s website.

There is even a song linked to the campaign by the Saudi-born singer Shams, entitled It’s Our Right to Drive.

Photos have also been sent in showing supporters’ hands with parts of the online petition written across them.

The first point in the petition reads: “Since there is no justification for the Saudi government to prohibit adult women citizens who are capable of driving cars from doing so, we urge the state to provide appropriate means for women seeking the issuance of permits and licenses to apply and obtain them”.

It goes on to say that the Saudi government must provide a valid and legal justification if it continues to deny women the right to drive.

Cars in Riyadh (22 Sept 2013) Many Saudi women are dependent on paid male drivers to get around

‘Window dressing’

Women activists in Saudi Arabia say the issue of being allowed to drive is key to gaining other rights.

There have been moves in this direction recently with women allowed onto the influential Shura council for the first time, as well as having the right to vote in the next municipal elections.



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Saudi Sheikh blasted on Twitter for saying women drivers ‘risk damaging ovaries’

Published time: September 29, 2013 17:43

>Reuters / Fahad Shadeed

Reuters / Fahad Shadeed

Comments by a Saudi psychologist that driving affects women’s ovaries and can lead to their children having health problems have outraged many women in the conservative Muslim country, who are protesting a de facto ban on women driving.

In an interview Friday with the website, Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Luhaydan said campaigners should put “the mind before the heart and emotion, and look at this issue with a realistic eye.”

“Physiological science and functional medicine [found that driving] automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis,” the judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association said.

“This is why we find [that] for women who continuously drive cars, their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees.”

Many Saudis have expressed their anger in Twitter, mocking the Sheikh’s “great scientific discoveries.”

A special hashtag “Women_driving_affects_ovaries_and_pelvises” appeared on the social network, and is widely used.

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By Nicola Abé in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

Photo Gallery: Rash of Suicides Plagues Afghanistan

Women in Mazar-e-Sharif have straddled the worlds between Western freedoms and conservative traditions for a decade. As the Taliban gains strength and the West pulls out, Afghanistan’s most liberal city is being plagued by a rash of suicides.

Fareba Gul decided to die in a burqa. She put on the traditional gown, which she usually didn’t wear, and drove to the Blue Mosque. There, at the holiest place in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, she swallowed malathion, an insecticide. She then ran over to the square, where hundreds of white doves were waiting to be fed by visitors. When she was surrounded by the birds, the cramps set in.

“Fareba was lying on the ground when I arrived, and people were standing all around her,” says her uncle Faiz Mohammed, whom she had called before taking the poison. “She was screaming for help.” He lifted up his niece, carried her to a taxi and took her to a hospital. Foam was pouring from her mouth, and she was slipping in and out of consciousness. One hour later, 21-year-old Fareba Gul was dead. She died on the same day, and in the same hospital, as her 16-year-old sister Nabila.

Behind the tragedy lay a harmless love affair, relatives say. The sisters had been fighting, and Nabila had taken things too far: She had fallen in love. Fareba, the relatives say, got angry, calling Nabila’s behavior “indecent” and demanding that she end the affair. Both got very upset and were screaming at each other. Their mother entered the room and slapped Nabila. Then, Nabila reportedly took the poison from her father’s cabinet and swallowed it in her room. A few hours later, Fareba took the same pills. “She felt guilty,” says her uncle.

The sisters’ double suicide hangs over the city like a dark shadow. Mazar-e-Sharif is widely viewed as one of the most peaceful and liberal cities in Afghanistan. But could this be an omen of what lies ahead for the country once Western troops start withdrawing in the near future?

Living in Mazar-e-Sharif means living in relative security. But now more and more women are starting to hurt themselves here, as well. It leaves one baffled, but it is still no coincidence.

More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn between tradition and their newly won freedom, between family expectations and their own sense of self. They are trapped in a society that is at once deeply conservative but also offers just enough freedom for women to discover a modern, Westernized lifestyle. Girls can go to school, women can work, and both can surf the Web and watch cable TV. But forced marriages, domestic violence and many limitations continue to exist for many of them — and are all-the-more difficult to bear. Under these circumstances, choosing how and when to die can become a form of self-determination.

Zarghana, 28, has survived two suicide attempts. She enjoyed success working...

Farshad Usyan/ DER SPIEGEL

Zarghana, 28, has survived two suicide attempts. She enjoyed success working for a human rights organization as a teacher, but then her husband abandoned her with their seven children and she lost her job. Her father refuses to let her divorce her husband, a stepbrother whom she was forced to marry at a young age.

When asked about the women killing themselves, the city’s police chief claims that such things “only happen in Heart province or in remote mountain villages.” Women’s rights organizations point to poverty and a lack of education as the main factors behind the suicides.

But the family home of the dead sisters is located in one of the best areas of town. It is spacious and in good condition, with a garden full of blooming roses. Marzia Gul, their mother, says “Please, come in,” and sits down on the sofa in the living room, sinking into the red upholstery. “Fareba, my oldest daughter, studied law,” she says. “She wanted to be a lawyer like her father” and was just a year away from her final exams. Nabila, the younger one, also did well in school, she continues. “She wanted to be a journalist.”

Marzia gets up, walks over to the cupboard and takes a photo from a glass tray. The picture shows a smiling little girl with pigtails and freckles. “She was so kind and helpful,” she says. Then her voice breaks.

A Place of Despair

The sisters’ suicide is particularly unsettling because the girls led privileged lives in this long-suffering country. They watched Bollywood films, had mobile phones and Internet access. Along with jeans and makeup, they wore headscarves but no burqas. They didn’t have to hide from the world.

And they lived in a city that does not force the well-off to barricade themselves behind concrete walls. A powerful governor controls life in this part of Afghanistan — so effectively, in fact, that residents hardly have to fear death from a bomb attack. Foreign aid workers are permitted to move around freely. Visitors barely see any weapons in the streets. Instead, they can watch women in the bazaars trying on shoes, their eyelids shaded with the traditional cosmetic kajal and their hair lightly covered by a headscarf.

Indeed, in theory, Mazar-e-Sharif is a place of hope. But at least in the regional hospital’s department of internal medicine, the city is a place of despair.

“Fridays are the worst,” says Dr. Khaled Basharmal as he takes out a notebook. “Eight attempted suicides on a single day.” He reads off the names of the most recent patients — Raihana, Roya, Shukuria, Terena, Rahima. There are also the names of two young men.

“It’s a disaster. Since late March, we’ve had more than 200 cases,” Basharmal says. The sisters, Fareba and Nabila Gul, were among his patients as well.

Basharmal is sweating underneath his white coat, and he is exhausted. It’s noon now, and he was forced to work another shift that lasted through the night.

No official statistics are kept, and no one can confirm his figures. Nevertheless, Afghanistan is believed to be one of the few countries in the world that has more women taking their lives than men. A recent study concluded that five out of every 100,000 women are committing suicide each year. But the real number is likely to be much higher, especially in rural areas far away from the big cities. More than 1.8 million women in Afghanistan, which has an estimated population of 31 million, are said to be suffering from depression.


More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn...

Getty Images

More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn between tradition and their newly won freedom, between family expectations and their own sense of self. They are trapped in a society that is at once deeply conservative but also offers just enough freedom for women to discover a modern, Westernized lifestyle. Girls can go to school, women can work, and both can surf the Web and watch cable TV.


Read More  and See Additional Photos Here



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Scandal in Texas as Rick Perry’s Abortion Bill Means Big Money for His Sister

Scandal In Texas-Rick Perry’s Abortion Bill Means Big Money For His Sister From Abortions

Rick Perry has been trying every trick in the book to pass the new abortion bill in Texas, and now, according to Addicting, the truth behind his extreme “desperation” has been uncovered. The bill’s passage would mean that his sister’s company could be poised to make big money from abortions. Milla Perry Jones, Rick Perry’s sister, is the Vice President of Government Affairs at United Surgical Partners International. In addition to that plumb position, she is also a board member at the Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center Society.

The Houston Chronicle reports the bill’s passage would mean that nearly all of the abortion clinics in Texas would close because they would not be able to afford to transform into official ambulatory surgical centers. The bill would restrict abortions to being performed only in clinics that have this designation.

The few abortion clinics that would stay open would be the ones that already function as ambulatory surgical centers. It does not seem to be a coincidence that Perry’s sister just so happens to work at a company that is already considered to be an ambulatory surgical center. She stands to profit handsomely from the bill being signed into law.

Addicting reports:

Closing 37 of the 42 clinics in Texas significantly eliminates competition and gives the company the ability to offer and perform abortion procedures at a higher cost. This means low income women will have to pay more to get an abortion and Rick Perry’s sister will profit from it.

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Taliban’s letter to Malala Yousafzai: this is why we tried to kill you

  • The Guardian, Wednesday 17 July 2013 15.33 EDT
Malala Yousafzai at the United Nations

Malala Yousafzai has received a rambling letter from a Taliban commander, claiming she was targeted for maligning it. Photograph: Rick Bajornas/UN Photo/PA

A senior member of the Pakistani Taliban has written an open letter to Malala Yousafzai – the teenager shot in the head as she rode home on a school bus – expressing regret that he didn’t warn her before the attack, but claiming that she was targeted for maligning the insurgents.

Adnan Rasheed, who was convicted for his role in a 2003 assassination attempt on the country’s then-president Pervez Musharraf, did not apologise for the attack, which left Malala gravely wounded, but said he found it shocking.

“I wished it would never happened [sic] and I had advised you before,” he wrote.

Malala was 15 when she and two classmates were targeted by a masked gunman who picked them out on a school bus as they went home from school in Pakistan‘s northwest Swat valley last October.

She was seriously injured in the attack, and was flown to Britain to receive specialist treatment from doctors in Birmingham, where she and her family now live.

Last week, she celebrated her 16th birthday by delivering a defiant speech at the United Nations in New York, in which she called on world leaders to provide free schooling for all children.

In the letter, Rasheed claimed that Malala was not targeted for her efforts to promote education, but because the Taliban believed she was running a “smearing campaign” against it.

“You have said in your speech yesterday that pen is mightier than sword,” Rasheed wrote, referring to Malala’s UN speech, “so they attacked you for your sword not for your books or school.”

The rambling four-page letter, in patchy English, citing Bertrand Russell, Henry Kissinger and historian Thomas Macaulay, was released to media organisations in Pakistan.


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Freedom in Egypt? It just gave men the freedom to rape me in Tahrir Square: As violence erupts in Cairo, woman attacked by a gang in demonstration recounts her ordeal

By Angella Johnson


She saw them running towards her as she approached Cairo’s Tahrir Square and within seconds she was surrounded.

What followed for Yasmine El-Baramawy was the most terrifying 70 minutes of her life – a prolonged, brutal rape and sexual assault by dozens of men, while a crowd looked on. And did nothing.

‘I felt hands all over my body, as they tore at my clothes like savage animals and tried to pull down my trousers,’ recalls the 30-year-old musician and composer.

Trauma: Yasmine El Baramawy was subjected to a brutal rape in Cairo's Tahrir Square during the 'Arab Spring' in November 2012

Trauma: Yasmine El Baramawy was subjected to a brutal rape in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the ‘Arab Spring’ in November 2012

More than 100 thugs also beat her with sticks and slashed at her with knives – disgusting, degrading ‘punishment’ because she dared to join the protests against former President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party.

Yasmine was back in Tahrir Square yesterday – and once again felt that rising sense of panic as vast crowds clashed.

The two-and-a-half year battle for democracy in Egypt has witnessed a large number of women being sexually assaulted or raped – simply for daring to take a stand.

It is the shameful, untold story of an Arab Spring revolution that went off-track. And perhaps the most disturbing element is that these attacks are said to have been sanctioned by Morsi and the Brotherhood.

Egyptian civil rights activists say that at least 91 women were sexually assaulted or raped in Tahrir Square during protests, which began last Sunday.

Journalist Angella Johnson reports from Cairo's Tahrir Square during a week of massive political upheaval in Egypt which has seen violent action from both pro- and anti-Morsi protesters

Journalist Angella Johnson reports from Cairo’s Tahrir Square during a week of massive political upheaval in Egypt which has seen violent action from both pro- and anti-Morsi protesters

The assailants operated in a climate of impunity – encouraged by religious zealots within the government who had called female protesters whores and who had blamed rape victims for not staying home. It is even believed that the gangs were paid by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yasmine’s nightmare happened last November as she tried to join friends in the square to protest against Morsi’s constitutional changes, which granted him unlimited powers.

‘About 15 men rushed from the crowd and trapped me by linking hands in a circle,’ she explains.

‘It happened quickly and in such a way that I later realised it was well rehearsed. I was cornered, trapped and stripped from the waist up before I had time to recover from the shock.

‘I managed to run, but tripped and fell on my face.’

They were on her again in an instant. Despite her statuesque 5ft 9in frame, Yasmine could do nothing to stop them. The daughter of a businessman and a chemist, Yasmine is a strong, intelligent and confident young woman, who has always felt able to take care of herself. But the numbers were overwhelming.

More sets of hands than it was possible to count clawed at her, grabbing her breasts and groping inside her underwear.

‘It was as if I was in a washing machine, being pushed and pulled and grabbed,’ she says.

‘I didn’t know what was happening to me or when it would end. I thought that I would faint or die, but I still tried to fight back.’

Uproar: Egyptians in Cairo celebrate the announcement made by Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi that Mohammad Morsi has been ousted, earlier this week

Uproar: Egyptians in Cairo celebrate the announcement made by Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi that Mohammad Morsi has been ousted, earlier this week

She was dragged several hundred yards as the mob feverishly tore at her clothes. Some tried to cut them off while she desperately clung to her trousers.

‘When they couldn’t get the jeans off, they slit them at the back with a knife. I was bleeding from my face and nose, but that didn’t stop them.’

Surprisingly, her attackers were not feral kids or teenagers, but grown men ‘aged in their 20s to 40s.’ Some were well-dressed and respectable.

Yasmine adds: ‘One guy tried to French kiss me and I bit his tongue so hard it bled. He screamed in agony and started kicking me in the back as I lay on the ground.

‘They tried to put me in a car, but there were so many people crowding around it that they couldn’t open the door. I ended up pinned to the bonnet as they drove a block away.’

The attack continued as the vehicle crawled along at slow speed. Some of the men whispered menacingly, ‘We are going to f***  you.’

By now Yasmine was covered with blood and excrement, having been pushed into sewage on the ground.  Dozens of people had stood by watching her ordeal in the square – but none  intervened.

A woman prays with supporters of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during Friday prayers

A woman prays with supporters of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during Friday prayers

Thankfully, she was eventually rescued by a woman dressed in traditional Islamic dress and several of her male friends and neighbours. But it was two months before Yasmine reported the crime – and then only because several   friends also suffered attacks.

‘I felt guilty,’ she says. ‘I thought that if I had said something before, they would have known the dangers.’

Yasmine says she wanted to shame the authorities into taking action. ‘I do not want to live in a country where men think it’s OK to do this to a woman. I don’t know any girl who has not suffered from verbal or physically sexual assaults.’

She blames a cultural acceptance of sexual harassment and an orchestrated campaign by the state for what happened – and is calling for a comprehensive national strategy on the part of the government to change public attitude.

Mervat El-Tallawy, a prominent Egyptian female politician, told The Mail on Sunday it was women who had suffered most under Morsi’s regime.

‘His party regard them as little more than chattel and sex slaves,’ says Ms El-Tallawy, chairwoman of the National Women’s Council.

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Campaigners warn of assault on women’s rights after three freed despite imprisoning, starving and burning girl sold into marriage

Afghan wife Sahar Gul being taken to hospital. Her in-laws tried her to force her into prostitution

Sahar Gul, then a 15-year-old Afghan wife, being carried to hospital in Baghlan. Her in-laws tortured her to force her into prostitution. Photograph: Jawed Basharat/AP

Human rights activists have warned of an new assault on women’s rights in Afghanistan after judges and prosecutors allowed the early release of three people convicted for the brutal torture of a child bride, and conservative lawmakers made an aggressive bid to prevent relatives testifying against each other.

If successful, the small change – introduced covertly into the criminal prosecution code – would stop the vast majority of cases of violence against women from ever reaching court.

Together with the quashing of three convictions for the attempted murder of the teenager Sahar Gul, it marks an alarming two-pronged assault on women’s rights by both those who make the laws and those tasked with upholding them.

“The last two months have really been a parade of horrible for women’s rights in Afghanistan,” said Heather Barr, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch, warning that the proposed change to the criminal code would leave most abused women with no legal protection against violence.

“Underage marriage, forced marriage, domestic violence, sale of women – these crimes are almost always committed against women by family members, whether through birth or through marriage.”

The 10-year sentences handed down to Gul’s tormentors last year was hailed as an important step forward, after her case horrified Afghanistan and prompted a bout of national soul-searching.

Sold as a wife when she was an illiterate 12-year-old, her in-laws wasted little time embarking on a campaign of almost unimaginable torture. They starved her, chained her in a basement bathroom, beat her, burned her with red-hot metal pipes and pulled her fingernails out.

By the end of her ordeal she could no longer walk, and was rescued from her makeshift prison in a wheelbarrow. But last week, according to her lawyer and women’s activists, a court ordered the release of Gul’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law saying there was no proof of abuse.

No evidence

“This was based on the idea that there was no evidence, but the people who would have given evidence didn’t know that the hearing was taking place,” said Kimberley Motley, a Kabul-based US lawyer who took on Gul’s case last week after learning of the release.

Judges ignored the fact that the courtroom was almost empty, with apparently no representation from government prosecutors or the victim, even though both should have been informed under Afghan law.

Sahar Gul, 14, at a women's shelter in Kabul. Sahar Gul at a women’s shelter in Kabul, Afghanistan, last year. She was not told about the release of her three in-laws, her lawyer said. Photograph: Kuni Takahashi/New York Times/Redux/eyevine

“Sahar Gul was not told about this,” Motley said. “The prosecutor didn’t show up or wasn’t informed. I believe the only person in court was the defence lawyer for the accused.”



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Saudi women activists get jail time for helping starving mother locked in home

Published time: June 19, 2013 01:56

AFP Photo / Fayez Nureldine

AFP Photo / Fayez Nureldine



A Saudi court sentenced two women to ten months in prison, along with a two-year travel ban, after they tried to help a Canadian woman who, with her three children, was denied adequate food and water and was subjected to violence by her Saudi husband.


On June 6 2011, the two human rights workers Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Oyouni received a text message from Nathalie Morin, the Canadian woman, saying that her husband had locked the whole family in the house and left for a week-long visit to see relatives in another town while her supplies of food and water were running out, according to Human Rights Watch.

“I cannot help myself and I have no rights in Saudi Arabia. My children are hungry and I cannot do anything to feed them. I’m fighting to get freedom, justice and fairness for my family including myself,” Morin wrote on her blog.

The two bought food and came to Morin’s house, where police were already waiting for them. The women were brought to Damman station for questioning, where police told al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni they believed they were trying to smuggle Morin and her three children to Canada, Human Rights Center reports.

After the women signed a statement pledging to cease all involvement with the case, the police released them. However, more than a year later in July 2012, authorities called in al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni for questioning, after which the government launched a case against them.

The trial continued for another year, and last Saturday presiding judge Fahad al-Gda’a issued a ruling sentencing the two human rights workers to ten months in prison, imposing an additional two-year travel ban on top of the jail time. The charges were “inciting a woman to flee with her children” and “attempting to turn a woman against her husband.” The women were acquitted of charges that they had attempted to smuggle the wife and her three children to the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh.

Al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni plan to challenge the ruling in the Court of Appeals.

The same day the two women issued a statement that when the case was launched, they predicted that the government was trying to punish them for their women’s rights activism in recent years. 


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Saudi Arabia: Activists Convicted For Answering Call For Help, Says HRW

June 18, 2013

By Eurasia Review

A Saudi court convicted two Saudi women’s rights activists on June 15, 2013, for trying to help a woman flee the country. Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Oyouni were each sentenced to 10 months in prison and two-year travel bans.

Al-Huwaider, a member of the Human Rights Watch Middle East advisory committee, told Human Rights Watch that she believes authorities pursued this case to punish her for unrelated women’s rights activism over the last 10 years. Al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni said they intend to appeal their convictions.

“Saudi authorities are using the courts to send a message that they won’t tolerate any attempt to alleviate the dismal status of women’s rights in the kingdom,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Saudi authorities should immediately drop this case and stop harassing Saudi women who call for reform.”

Al-Huwaider told Human Rights Watch that her and al-Oyouni’s involvement with the Canadian woman began in 2009, when she received messages from Johanne Durocher, the woman’s mother, who is in Canada, pleading for activists to help her daughter, Natalie Morin. Morin is married to a Saudi citizen, Sa’eed al-Shahrani, and lives with him and their three children in the Eastern Province city of Dammam.

Durocher told them that al-Shahrani, a former police officer, was abusing Morin by locking her in their house and denying her adequate food and water. Durocher had helped draw international media attention to the case in 2009 by lobbying Canadian government officials to intervene and organizing protests over the case in Canada.

Al-Huwaider said that she and al-Oyouni organized several trips by other activists to deliver food and supplies to the woman, but that they did not attempt to visit Morin until the afternoon of June 6, 2011, when they received distressed messages from Morin herself. The messages said that Morin’s husband had left for a week-long visit to see relatives in another town and that her supplies of food and water were running out. When al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni approached the house to offer assistance they were confronted by police who were apparently waiting for them to arrive. The officers immediately arrested them and took them to a Damman police station for questioning.

The police told al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni that they believed they had gone to Morin’s home to help her and her three children, all Canadian citizens, to escape to Canada.

Police released al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni after midnight on June 7, after they signed a statement pledging to cease all involvement with the case and to allow the government-affiliated National Human Rights Commission and Canadian Embassy to investigate. The Damman branch of the National Commission on Human Rights declined to intervene, stating that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that al-Shahrani was mistreating Morin and their children. Canadian government officials have maintained since 2009 that this case is a private matter that must be resolved by Saudi authorities.


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Leading Rights Group Shuttered, Harsh Sentences on Politically-Motivated Charges


(Beirut) – The harsh sentences against leading Saudi rights advocates and an order to shutter a civil and political rights group are major setbacks for rights in Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities should release and drop charges against the two leading human rights activists sentenced to long prison terms after a Specialized Criminal Court convicted them on politically-motivated charges on Saturday.

The activists, Mohammed al-Qahtani and Abdulla al-Hamid, are co-founders of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), a rights organization that has called for greater civil rights in the kingdom. They faced charges including “destabilizing security by calling for protests,” “spreading false information to outside sources,” “undermining national unity,” and “setting up an illegal human rights organization.” The two activists have been sentenced solely for their peaceful advocacy of reform and criticism of human rights violations.

“This is simply an outrageous case, which shows the extremes Saudi authorities are prepared to go to silence moderate advocates of reform and greater respect for human rights”, said Eric Goldstein, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. “The Saudi authorities should immediately release al-Qatani and al-Hamid, drop the charges against them, and end political trials before the Specialized Criminal Court.”

The Specialized Criminal Court began trying the two activists in June 2012. At first, their trials were separate and they were conducted behind closed doors, like most other trials before the Specialized Criminal Court. The judge, however, decided to merge the two cases after their first sessions. The trial continued on camera until the fifth and last session, when the judge finally opened the proceedings and allowed the presence of media, lawyers, and rights activists, who attended in the presence of members of the security forces.

At the final session on Saturday, according to Sabq newspaper, the judge read through the charges at length and likened the activists’ beliefs to those of terrorists, claiming that “calling for a change of the name of the kingdom cannot possibly be reformist.” The newspaper also reported that presiding judge Hammad al-Omar told al-Hamid, after he remarked on the lack of independence of the court, not to question the validity of the sentences, warning him that “judges may add what crimes they deem necessary to the charge list.”



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