Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saudi King boasts increased political rights for women while flogging continues

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A Katalusis post last June highlighted the shame of Saudi Arabia where women are not allowed to drive a car or ride a bicycle under penalty of flogging. Today, the CNN Wire Staff reported the barbaric treatment of women continues unabated despite King Abdullah’s recent announcement:

(CNN) -- Saudi King Abdullah announced greater political participation for women in the conservative kingdom this week, but Tuesday, a human rights group decried the promised reforms in light of a flogging sentence for a woman who dared to drive a car.

Amnesty International said a Saudi woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for getting behind the wheel. The group said the harsh sentence demonstrated the scale of discrimination against women in the Islamic nation, and it urged the dismantling of the "whole system of women's subordination."

"Flogging is a cruel punishment in all circumstances, but it beggars belief that the authorities in Saudi Arabia have imposed lashes on a woman apparently for merely driving a car," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director.

"Belatedly allowing women to vote in council elections is all well and good, but if they are still going to face being flogged for trying to exercise their right to freedom of movement, then the King's much-trumpeted 'reforms' actually amount to very little."

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