The saga of Manal Al-Sharief continues.
Her arrest in Dammam is being extended by 10 days while the authorities ‘continue to investigate’ her case. At this point, even if she is found not to have violated any laws, she’s being significantly punished. Sitting in a jail, for any length of time, is punishment. If innocent of any crime, it is worse than punishment: it is a grave violation of human rights.
The Arab News article, however, does quote the Deputy Minister of Interior as saying there is a law, a 1990 statement that prohibits women from driving in the Kingdom. (Saudi Gazette identifies the year as 1991/92.) It’s very useful to understand that a ‘statement’ now equals a ‘law’. But does it? Was that statement issued by an authority with the power to make laws under the Saudi governmental system? Or is it just a statement? What other ‘statements’ carry the force of law in Saudi Arabia? Are they published so that everyone can learn what they may or may not legally do? If not, then they’re not law, they’re clubs by which authority can be exerted whenever it’s felt necessary. In other words, they are an back door to tyranny. Saudi Arabs should expect better than that of their government.
Manal Al-Sharif’s detention extended by 10 days
SIRAJ WAHAB | ARAB NEWS
DAMMAM: As her five-year-old son remains hospitalized with a severe infection, imprisoned motorist Manal Al-Sharif learned she will remain behind bars for another 10 days while authorities decide her fate.
Her lawyer, Adnan Al-Saleh, told Asharq Al-Awsat, a sister publication of Arab News, that the court ruled Thursday against her release as it continues to probe her drive into Alkhobar and the subsequent online posting of the event on social media websites.
“We believe the best thing for the prosecutor general would have been to release her on bail,” said Al-Saleh. “They told us that the investigating authorities need another 10 days to complete their inquiries. They will then decide whether Al-Sharif is innocent or whether her case should be referred to a special prosecutor,” he said, and explained that such things are in line with the legal formalities. “However, this does not and will not stop us from continuing with our efforts to get her released on bail.”