Saudi Arabia’s historic ruling for woman living independently without permission
Joanne Serrieh, Al Arabiya EnglishWednesday 15 July 2020
A court in Saudi Arabia has ruled in favor of a woman who was on trial for living and traveling on her own to the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh, without her father’s permission.
Public prosecutors had been pursuing the woman for being absent from her family’s home and traveling to Riyadh without permission, court documents published by Abdulrahman al-Lahim, a lawyer in the case , showed.
“A historic ruling was issued today, affirming that independence of a sane, adult woman in a separate house is not a crime worthy of punishment,” al-Lahim said in a tweet. “I am very happy with this this ruling that ends tragic stories for women.”
The court ruled that the independence of the defendant in a separate home is not considered a punishable criminal act as the “woman is a sane adult who has the right to decide where she wants to live,” according to the document.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, al-Lahim said that he considers this a historic ruling because it represents a significant change is underway within the Kingdom’s judicial system.
“This shows the creation of a new generation of judges who coexist and live in the reality that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is living in, in alignment with the vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” the lawyer told Al Arabiya. “A ruling that deals with reality, the reality of society and the reality of the entire world.”
Al-Lahim also said the ruling is in line with global women rights and human rights.
The woman involved later revealed her identity on Twitter in a response to comments made by al-Lahim.
“After long suffering that has lasted since 2017, I managed today, along with the court hero Mr. Abdulrahman al-Lahim, to take back my freedom of movement, guaranteed by the Saudi constitution, which states that every citizen has freedom of movement and stability,” Meriam al-Eteebe, the defendant, said in a tweet.
She also said that her experience was “not easy but worth it.”