10 Lashes For Saudi Woman Who Drove Stirs Outrage

10 lashes served to a Saudi woman who drove an automobile. Amnesty International said the sentence was handed down in a country that forbids females behind the wheel. The Arabia Kingdom has a religious ban and serious punishments for those who break the law.

Activist Samar Badawi says Shaima Ghassaniya was found guilty Tuesday of driving without the government’s permission. Tuesday’s 10 lashes verdict is the first of its kind in the country. Citizens who break any of the laws are usually detained for several days, if not weeks, before they are sentenced by a court.

King Abdullah recently announced that women in the country would be allowed to vote and run for local office. Another female citizen who drove is being held in jail. She told authorities that she needed to take better care of her children, but now she faces the same harsh punishment.

Saudi’s government takes the form of an Islamic absolute monarchy. The kingdom is sometimes called “The Land of the Two Holy Mosques” in reference to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam. The two mosques are Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest oil reserves and is the world’s largest oil exporter. Oil accounts for more than 90% of exports and nearly 75% of government revenues, facilitating the creation of a welfare state. However, human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly expressed concern about the state of human rights among its citizens.

The U.S. State department considers that “discrimination against women is a significant problem” in Saudi Arabia and that they have few political or social rights.

It seems like a cruel way to punish someone, male or female, for 10 lashes just because they drove in modern times.