Samar Badawi, the thirty years old Saudi woman might not be known for most people in the West. She wouldn’t have been known for anyone who lived beyond the sand dunes of Arabia either, had her name not been circulated by human rights organizations. These organizations intervened for her release from jail which she was sent to without trail for disobeying her father. Yes, in Saudi Arabi when a female doesn’t follow her father’s orders, he has the right to send her to jail. Badawi’s case is neither the first nor shall it be the last, but yet it is a classical demonstration of how women are viewed and treated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; a vile place for women to be born and live.
Under Saudi law, women must obtain permission from a male guardian – a father, husband, brother or son – to travel abroad, access certain government services or marry.
Badawi who had previously escaped her father’s abuse in 2008 and stayed in a women’s shelter away from his violence sued him in July 2010 to cancel his guardianship for refusing to grant her permission to re-marry after being divorced. Instead of finding salvation in the legal system, the judge sent her to jail without a trial on the grounds that she had disobeyed her father.
Badawi’s imprisonment had stirred a lot of commotion from women’s activists inside Saudi Arabia and triggered more criticism of the religious governing law of the Kingdom from outside. Such controversies sent urgent messages for the King Abdullah’s personal intervention.
International pressures finally succeeded in releasing Badawi on October 25, 2010 after six months spent in jail without formal charge. Badawi was released by an order of Prince Khalid Al Faisal, governor of Makah region.
Badawi was released from jail and her custody was given to her uncle who became her new guardian.