‘My Right2Dignity Initiative’ Statement
“Fear the curse of the oppressed, for there is no veil between it and Allah” (Bukhari)
September 25, 2011
Yesterday, on the 24th of September 2011, The Initiative has received unfortunate news about one of its members, Mrs. Najlaa Al Hariri, who was called upon by The Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution, Committee of Honour and Ethics. Mrs. Al Hariri has recently appeared on MBC TV channel where she was interviewed about the women driving issue in Saudi Arabia, the programme has shown video clips of her driving her car in the streets of Jeddah. We believe this is the reason why she is being called upon and we denounce it and think it is completely unacceptable and shameful as it is dangerous to call in an honourable lady who is a wife, a mother, and first and foremost a citizen of this country. We are currently following her case with the lawyer Rayan Mufti.
On those same lines, we also received news about the trial of another Saudi woman [who remains anonymous] who has driven her car in July 2011, and has so far attended three sessions for that at The Summary Court in Jeddah, with no media coverage of the event whatsoever.
Okaz Newspaper reporting the news: “Okaz” publishing the list of accusations of the Jeddah female driver – the accused has waited for three hours in a meeting room with bad air conditioning.
Al Madina Newspaper, denying the news: The Criminal Court of Jeddah denies receiving a case on Jeddah female driver.
News continue to appear about arresting female drivers who are asked to sign a pledge against driving but who, however, are never given legal justification or explanation of what the nature of their offense is by traffic officials.
What is happening to our women today is unfortunate and violates the rule of law and legal rights and is contrary to the reformist direction that was launched by The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. We deplore what has happened and what is happening, and we appeal to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, to look into our [Saudi women driving] issue which has long been silenced and which has caused shedding off our rights, and our dignity. A right that was promised to be granted to us by King Abdullah and one which has been legitimized by laws and codes yet was seized by so-called customs.
We declare [once again] that there is no legal provision that criminalize women for driving their cars, and which if found, would legally be considered a flagrant violation of women rights and would infringe treaties and conventions that was signed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, such as the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
We hereby announce that The Initiative will offer lawyers, if needed, for any woman who is subjected to legal accusations for driving her car, and we shall continue this until The King hears our voices.
We will send telegrams to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, on the issue of Ms. Najla Al Hariri for driving her car, and other ladies who have been interrogated or prosecuted for driving their cars. We hope that other citizens who denounce the above incidents will communicate with officials by sending telegrams or by calling Telegraph on 969 from any phone owned by the person to bring our collective voices to key decision-makers.
My Right2Dignity Initiative
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