A Saudi Arabian woman who punched a religious police officer who was questioning her for illegal socialization with an unrelated male may face prison time and lashings. The couple, reportedly in their twenties, were walking in an amusement park in the city of Al-Mubarras when they encountered the police officer. According to AOL News, the young man collapsed for unknown reasons while being questioned.
Saudi women's rights activist Wajiha Al-Huwaidar told the Media Line that "To see resistance from a woman means a lot...People are fed up with these religious police, and now they have to pay the price for the humiliation they put people through for years and years. This is just the beginning and there will be more resistance," reported the Jerusalem Post. She continued, "the media and the Internet have given people a lot of power and the freedom to express their anger...The Hai'a are like a militia, but now whenever they do something itís all over the Internet. This gives them a horrible reputation and gives people power to react."
The legal guardianship system in Saudi Arabia requires that women, both minors and adults, must be accompanied by a male guardian outside the home. If women wish to conduct themselves in public business, work, or to drive, they must obtain permission from or be accompanied by their male guardian, who may be her husband, father, brother, or even a minor son, according to Human Rights Watch. The Saudi Arabian government promised in June 2009 to follow United Nations suggestions to remove this restrictive system, but has not made this change.
In March, another Saudi Arabian woman, Sawsan Salim, was sentenced to 300 lashings and one and a half years in prison for filing harassment complaints about government officials and appearing in court in the northern Qasim region without a male guardian present. Salim woman appeared without a male guardian because her husband, her sole male family member, was in prison at the time. A similar case occurred in March 2009, when Khamisa Sawadi, an elderly Saudi woman, was accused of fraternization with men after two men outside of her family brought her bread. She was sentenced to 40 lashings, 4 months jail time and deportation. In February 2008, an American business woman was arrested for being in the family section of a Starbucks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a male colleague.
Media Resources: Jerusalem Post 5/17/10; AOL News 5/18/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/3/10; Human Rights Watch 3/2/10
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .