Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-03-05

Bahrain Files Charges to Silence Women's Activist

Ghada Jamsheer, the head of the Women's Petition Committee (WPC) in Bahrain, faces three trials for slander this month as a result of her involvement in family law cases and her criticisms of Bahrain's sharia judges. There are two sharia systems in Bahrain, one for Sunni Muslims and one for Shia Muslims, and both courts hear family law cases such as divorce, custody and inheritance and make decisions according to interpretations of Islamic law. There are no codified family laws.

Human Rights Watch reports in its statement that the WPC has documented many cases in which judges ruled capriciously, as when women are denied custody of their children because they either work or attend school. In 2003, the WPC collected 1700 signatures in favor of codifying family law, and while the Bahraini government has promised to codify law granting divorced women custody of their children, no action has been taken.

The cases against Jamsheer come from the former husband of a woman championed by the WPC and from several judges, claiming she committed libel by referring to the sharia judges as "corrupt, biased and unqualified," and calling one particular judge "rude and unfair," reports Agence France Presse. Her first case begins tomorrow, with others later this month. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison, but Jamsheer tells the Gulf Daily News "I'm prepared to go to jail if I have to in order to fight for the rights of women."

Human Rights Watch has demanded that Bahrain drop these charges, and eliminate its criminal penalties for slander that does not involve a call to violence. LaShawn R. Jefferson, Women's Rights Director at Human Rights Watch, states that "Ghada Jamsheer is being punished for exposing the injustice that women face in the courtroom. These laws are a blatant attempt to silence her and undermine the reform efforts she spearheads." The Arab Programme for Human Rights Activists has also demanded the retraction of the charges against Jamsheer.

Media Resources: Agence France Presse 6/3/05; Gulf Daily News 6/3/05; Human Rights Watch 6/2/05


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/24/2014 Thousands of Women in Iran Protest Acid Attacks in Wake of Religious Law - On Wednesday, thousands of Iranians in the historic city of Isfahan gathered to protest recent acid attacks on women. . . .
 
10/24/2014 Potential Ballot Measure in DC Would Raise Minimum Wage to $15 - Low-wage workers in Washington, DC might see a significant increase in their pay, thanks to national labor rights group Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC). This month, the DC Board of Elections approved language submitted by a local chapter of ROC to raise the minimum wage in the District to $15/hour by 2019. . . .
 
10/23/2014 All of Tennessee's Major Newspapers Have Urged Voters to Reject Anti-Abortion Amendment 1 - All four of Tennessee's major papers have spoken out to oppose Amendment 1, a dangerous anti-abortion measure that will be decided by voters this fall. . . .