Pakistan's President signed an amendment to a controversial Islamic law on Friday that will allow 1,300 women facing charges of adultery and other minor crimes to be released from prison on bail. President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's amendment to the Hadood Ordinance allows women awaiting trial to be released on bail, excluding those accused of murder or terrorism.
Under the Hadood Ordinance in Pakistan, developed by the former dictator Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1979, women can be stoned to death if found guilty of adultery, theft is punished by amputation of the right arm, and drinking alcohol is punishable by 80 lashes, according to the Associated Press. In addition, women are commonly incarcerated on adultery charges. Even rape victims are convicted of adultery under the Hadood Ordinance unless they have four male witnesses, which human rights groups say makes a rape conviction impossible.
"President Musharaff has taken a bold decision to protect the rights of women and save them from the misuse of Islamic laws," said Sumaira Malik, Pakistan's Minister for Women's Affairs, IRIN news reports. Over 6,000 Pakistani women are currently awaiting trial under the Hadood Ordinance, reports IRIN news. Despite the fact that they have been released on bail, they will still face trial for their supposed crimes.
Media Resources: Associated Press 7/7/06, 7/10/06; IRIN 7/10/06; BBC 7/10/06; The Hindu 7/7/06
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .