Middle East

Iran: Incarcerated Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh - "I Object to these Sentences, With or Without a License to Practice the Law"

Publication Date: 
May 29, 2011
The Feminist School
Nasrin Sotoudeh

Feminist School:
At the request of the judicial authorities, Nasrin Sotoudeh was summoned from Evin prison today May 29th, 2011 to attend a court hearing at the Iranian Bar Association concerning the revocation of her license to practice the law. According to reports received by the Feminist School, however, her court hearing was rescheduled.

While awaiting her court hearing, Sotoudeh wrote a letter to her husband Reza Khandan. The content of Sotoudeh’s letter is as follows:

[Update] Saudi Arabia: Al Sharif released, 17 June Women2Drive campaign continues

Manal Al Sharif reunited with her son


Update on:

Saudi authorities on Monday freed a woman jailed nine days ago for her role in promoting the right to drive for Saudi women. Manal Al Sharif, a 32-year-old computer security specialist employed by the oil giant ARAMCO, was detained May 22 after she defied the kingdom's ban on female drivers and posted a video of her action on YouTube, as part of a national campaign. 

Saudi Arabia: Call for release of activist challenging ban on women drivers

The international solidarity network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) calls for the immediate release of Manal Al-Sharif. Saudi authorities have arrested an activist who launched a campaign to challenge a ban on women driving in the conservative kingdom. The media spokesman of the Directorate General of Prisons in Saudi Arabia, Colonel Dr Ayoub Ben, has confirmed that Manal Al-Sharif has been charged with breach of public order and security, and with ‘deliberately inciting the media and other Saudi women’ to drive cars. She will be detained for a further five days pending investigation. <--break->

An Eye for an Eye: Iran's Blinding Justice System

Publication Date: 
May 15, 2011
Time Magazine
Ameneh Bahrami, in her Tehran apartment with her mother and the remains of the clothing she wore when she was attacked with acid

Iran's judiciary has postponed the blinding of a man as punishment for throwing acid in the face of a young woman in 2004, after she rejected his offer of marriage. The delay came in the face of mounting outcry from both inside Iran and the West over the sentence, which is permissible under qesas, a principle of Islamic law allowing victims analogous retribution for violent crimes.

The case has stirred passionate interest in Iran since 2004, when Majid Movahedi, a university student, accosted Ameneh Bahrami on a Tehran street and tossed a red bucket of sulfuric acid in her face.

Egypt: Secularists unite to take on Islamists

Publication Date: 
May 21, 2011

CAIRO, May 21, 2011 (IPS) - Liberal and secular Egyptians at the core of mass protests that toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak are scrambling to form a unified political front ahead of critical parliamentary elections in which they will face the better-organised Islamists.

"Time is short, and we are trying to unite the 12 million protesters who took to the streets to topple the old regime," says Gameela Ismail, co-founder of the Madaneya movement to protect Egypt’s civil state. "We welcome all the revolution’s various political forces, but we are against anyone who would bring religion into politics."

Saudi Arabia: Arrest of Woman Leading Right-to-Drive Campaign

Publication Date: 
May 23, 2011
New York Times

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The government of Saudi Arabia moved swiftly to extinguish a budding protest movement of women claiming the right to drive, a campaign inspired by uprisings across the Arab world demanding new freedoms but at risk Monday of foundering.

Manal al-Sharif, 32, one of the campaign organizers, was detained Sunday in the eastern city of Dammam for up to five days on charges of disturbing public order and inciting public opinion by twice driving in a bid to press her cause, said her lawyer, Adnan al-Saleh.

Saudi Arabia: Free Woman Who Dared to Drive

Publication Date: 
May 23, 2011
Human Rights Watch
Saudi women in Riyadh. (Reuters)

(Beirut) - King Abdullah should immediately order the release of Manal al-Sharif, who was arrested on the morning of May 22, 2011, after she defied the kingdom's de facto ban on driving by women, Human Rights Watch said today.

She had  posted a video on YouTube showing herself behind the wheel and describing the inconveniences not being able to drive causes women. Prosecutors charged al-Sharif with besmirching the kingdom's reputation abroad and stirring up public opinion, according to Saudi press reports. King Abdullah should lift the de facto ban, Human Rights Watch said.

Yemen: Child brides, Too young to wed

Publication Date: 
May 24, 2011
National Geographic
Yemeni child brides (Photo: National Geographic)

Because the wedding was illegal and a secret, except to the invited guests, and because marriage rites in Rajasthan are often conducted late at night, it was well into the afternoon before the three girl brides in this dry farm settlement in the north of India began to prepare themselves for their sacred vows. They squatted side by side on the dirt, a crowd of village women holding sari cloth around them as a makeshift curtain, and poured soapy water from a metal pan over their heads.

More Under the Veil: Women and Muslim Fundamentalism in MENA

Publication Date: 
May, 2009

It is important to begin any discussion related to religious fundamentalism with an exploration of what is meant by the term “fundamentalism.” The word “fundamentalism” was originally coined in reference to a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century. In the broadest sense, fundamentalism can be understood as “a selective retrieval and imposition of...[religious] law and sacred texts as the basis for a modern socio-political order” (Hardacre 1994:130).

Iran: Visualising Power, Documenting Resistance - an interview with Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh

Publication Date: 
May 15, 2011
ISIS International

Persistently harrassed by the government, Iranian film maker Mahboubeh Abbasgolizadeh has found her mode of resistance in her craft. Her films have not only dealt with women who are oppressed by a fundamentalist regime. Behind the otherwise simple plots are real relations of power, that tells us much about Iran.