Lifting on Ban on Women Drivers in Saudi Arabia
We all know that On 26 September 2017, King Salman issued a statement recognizing the right of Saudi women to drive in keeping with Sharia. Licenses were set to be issued to women starting on 24 June 2018.
The ban was lifted under a Royal Decision in the year 2017 and was announced that the women will start getting their car licenses from June 24, 2018, onwards. Many women said they will also apply for their licenses and the Saudi authorities actually issued thousands of licenses to women subsequent to the lifting of the Saudi ban.
Penalties For Harassing the Women Drivers in Saudi Arabia
ACCORDING TO THE PREVAILING LAW, IF THE VICTIM OF THE HARASSMENT DECIDES TO FORGIVE THE HARASSER, THE HARASSER IS ONLY FORGIVEN OF THE VIOLATION OF THE PRIVATE RIGHT, BUT HE STILL HAS TO FACE THE PUBLIC RIGHTS VIOLATION. HARASSMENT PENALTIES INCLUDE IMPRISONMENT FOR NO MORE THAN TWO YEARS AND A FINE THAT REACHES UP TO SR.100,000. THE PENALTY IS MORE SEVERE FOR REPEAT OFFENDERS.
Brief Preview Of Incident Which Took Place Last Year 2018
Many of our readers might have read the incident which took place last year related to the harassment against a female driver in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The said incident took place soon after the ban was lifted under a Royal Decision on June 24 on woman driving.
Last year, two men were arrested by the police and were presented before the public prosecutor for the charges of setting the Saudi woman’s car on fire.
The Saudi Woman Bought the Car from A Pakistani
I bought the car from a Pakistani through a friend. Ever since she started driving the car, she was hearing abusive comments from young men and they said: “We don’t like girls to drive.” Later she received threats such as “We’ll punish you.” She said the incident will not deter me. I will never go back on my decision to drive.
The Lady was a Cashier Earning Only SAR 4,000
Like thousands of other Saudi working women, Salma Al-Sharif, who is around 33 years old, works as a cashier in Makkah, she started driving the car soon the ban was lifted. But she was shocked and surprised when one day one of her neighbours knocked on her door just before dawn and told her father that her daughter’s car was on fire.
The Saudi woman driver claimed that the car was purposely set alight by two men who were against the women’s’ driving. She further stated that she had faced abuse from men in her neighborhood soon after she began driving to ease her financial pressures.
She Used to Spend Half of Her Salary on Paying Driver
Before lifting the ban, the lady said, she used to spend half of her salary of SAR. 4,000 on a driver to take her to the office and drive her elderly parents wherever required.
Saudi Court Verdict for the Compensation
The affected Saudi woman driver filed a case for compensation in the court, however, in a recent verdict the Saudi court has denied SAR.1 million compensation which was requested by the Saudi woman whose car was burned down by men last year. This verdict has come months after the two defendants who were initially accused of setting her car on fire were found innocent.
The filed case is now in an appeals phase, initiated by the Saudi lady, who is fighting against the verdict that cleared the men of all charges held against them.
Lawyer says Court Rejected Requested Compensation as it too High to Pay
Her lawyer said she was denied compensation because the sum of money she requested was deemed too high by the judge handling the appeals case. He also added that his client is now waiting for a final verdict in the legal case and it’s expected to pass in mid-May.
People Reaction on Social Media
خلال قيادتي للسيارة اليوم تعرضت للتحرش من قبل شاب في طريق الملك، الشاب استمر في الانتقال يميناً ويساراً في ٣ خطوط أمامي! وعندما شاهد بأننا نصوره، زاد سرعته فوق السرعة المسموحة ليهرب. عرض حياتي وحياة أسرتي وحياة من حولنا للخطر.
— د. سمر خان (@Sam_Tardi) July 7, 2018
Translated: “As I was driving my car today, I was harassed by a young man on The King’s highway. The man kept on chasing after my car, going right and left in the three lanes ahead of us! When he realized we were filming him, he sped away. He put my life and my family’s life in danger and also risked the lives of those driving around us. I reported him to the kingdom’s authorities.”
Saudis on social media took the same view. Manal (@mnal50) tweeted: “I pray that they get captured, jailed, and pay double the worth of the car for the psychological harm they caused her.”
Hanouf BinHimd (@DrHanouf) said on Twitter: “Where are their education, morals, ethics, religious value?! I hope she gets compensation, and those offenders get captured.”
Some even volunteered transport for Al-Sharif until justice is done. @capt_haitham said: “I am ready to get her a car until things get easier for her.”