Saudi King Abdullah Stops Lashing of Woman Driver


King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has overturned a court ruling that a woman be sentenced to 10 lashes after being caught driving a car. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women -- locals and foreigners -- from driving.

CBS News reports that a government official confirmed the King's decision, but would not elaborate with any details.

On Tuesday Shaima Jastaina was found guilty of violating the driving ban and sentenced to the lashings. The sentence caught Saudi women by surprise because just a day earlier King Abdullah said he would protect women's rights and ruled that women would be allowed to participate in municipal elections in 2015.

One can surmise that Abdullah's reversal of the sentencing proves he is serious about protecting women's rights.

Usually police just stop and question female drivers, and then release them when they sign a pledge promising to never drive again. But in June activists began a campaign to end the ban, and many women have taken to the road since.

Many Saudi families have to have live-in drivers to take women around. Families that can't afford the $300-$400 per month for a driver have to rely on male relatives to get them to places, according to CBS News.


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