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The Women2Drive campaign, part of Right2Dignity initiative, has taken a strong and clear position with perseverance towards its legitimate demand for women driving. Moreover, since there is no legislation that forbids a woman from driving in Saudi Arabia, and there are no restrains for a woman to issue a driving license, a lawsuit has been filed at the Court Administration (Grievances Board) in the Eastern Province on 15 November 2011 by Ms. Manal Al-Sharif; to object to the negative decision issued by the General Directorate of Traffic, upon refusing to grant her a driver’s license. This also serves as an objection to the General Directorate of Traffic’s persistent method of ignoring all other requests for drivers licenses made by other Saudi women.

The Grievances Board allows citizens to object to government decisions judicially by filling lawsuits against it, whether this governmental decision is negative or positive. Therefore, upon receiving a negative decision by the General Directorate of Traffic to grant Ms. Manal Al Sharif (prosecutor) a driver license, and stemming from our belief that positive change is enforced through legitimate channels and via our national [judicial] institutions and also in accordance with laws and regulations, a lawsuit has been filed.

We hope that this case, and cases that follow it, contribute to the effort in pushing for the application of international agreements signed by the Saudi Arabian government. This would assist in furthering the goal of achieving women’s rights, as well as raise rights-based awareness in Saudi society.

One of the goals in doing so is to force a legal answer to the persistent question that has been raised for decades, “Why have women in Saudi Arabia been denied the right to drive a car, like men do?”.

Full case documentation can be found here: http://www.allahem.net/2012/02/blog-post.html

The Right2Dignity Initiative calls on all those who are interested to file a similar lawsuit to follow the following steps, please also note that a lawyer can be provided by the initiative:
1 – Apply for obtaining a driving license in local Department of Traffic
2 – Upon rejection of the application, send an objection via telegram or registered letter to the General Administration of Traffic in Riyadh. Here, you will find a sample letter of objection:
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B7hl4_pD_WDiMzUwMDQ3MjctZDQyOS00NmNhLWI3ZGItMjlhZTEwYjE5Y2I2&hl=ar&pli=1
3 – Send us the date of sending the telegram / letter, next, you are entitled after 90 days to file a lawsuit in the Grievances Board.

Members of My Right To Dignity Initiative
www.women2drive.org

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The Right2Dignity campaign has received confirmed information that a list of Saudi women, who have driven and were stopped by the police officer, was transfered to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution in preparation of their trials. This information was proven yesterday when we heard Ms. Shaima Jastaniah’s court sentence to be 10 lashes because she drove her car in Jeddah last July, as well as forcibly taking pledges from numerous women who have driven recently.

These overly harsh and uncalled for actions are an apparent attempt to scare Saudi women Rights activists and intimidate them so that they would stop their demand of rights. These actions are a desperate attempt to violate the promises given by King Abdullah to his female citizens when he expanded their political rights in his last speech on 25 September 2011. We expect the right to drive to be assured in the next coming weeks, but the Ministry of Interior (as shown by its recent actions) insists on turning back the clock.

The Right2Dignity campaign calls on all women who have been harassed by security services or the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution to contact the members of the Right2Dignity campaign in order to report all the actions that were taken against them.

We ask that any woman who is summoned for prosecution do the following:

1. To refuse the Security services to investigate her and instead, demand that the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution to conduct the investigation according to just legal procedures.

2. To demand her right to a lawyer to represent her according to just legal procedures.

3. To issue a written statement if she experiences any form of physical or legal harassment. She must state her full name and the nature of these harassments. Publication is the best remedy to end these harassments.

The Right2Dignity campaign hopes that the Saudi authorities address the issue of women’s right to drive and depend on herself. This is required legally, according to Islamic Sharia, as well as international agreements that Saudi Arabia has ratified.

 

Breaking News:

We have received unfortunate news about a Saudi lady, Shaimaa, who was called in court for driving her car, she has attended three sessions in Jeddah and they have sentenced her for 10 lashes. She has rejected the verdict and will appeal in court. This is completely unacceptable and certainly breaks laws and regulations as well as international treaties that Saudi Arabia has signed, such as CEDAW.

Two other ladies have been called to court, Ms. Najlaa Hariri was forced to sign a pledge not to drive again and is scheduled to appear in court for trial in one month in Jeddah and another lady is under trial in the Eastern Province.

What is happening is horrifying and must immediately be stopped.

My Right2Dignity Initiative.

‘My Right2Dignity Initiative’ Statement

“Fear the curse of the oppressed, for there is no veil between it and Allah” (Bukhari)

September 25, 2011

Breaking News

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.

News Sources:

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.

http://www.okaz.com.sa/new/issues/20110726/Con20110726436159.htm

Al Madina Newspaper, denying the news: The Criminal Court of Jeddah denies receiving a case on Jeddah female driver.

http://www.al-madina.com/node/317522

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.

http://www.alyaum.com/News/art/28983.html

http://www.alyaum.com/News/art/29690.html

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.

Signed,

My Right2Dignity Initiative 


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