Twitter 'Pardon' May Not Save Saudi Woman Driver from Lashing

A Saudi woman who was sentenced to flogging but then apparently pardoned still faces the lash for driving a car in the Sharia-adherent kingdom.

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A Saudi woman who was sentenced to flogging but then apparently pardoned still faces the lash for driving a car in the Sharia-adherent kingdom. The news of her pardon first came in September from the Twitter account of Princess Ameera Al Taweel, wife of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who wrote, "Thank God, the lashing of Sheima is cancelled. Thanks to our beloved King. I'm sure all Saudi women will be so happy, I know I am." According to The Atlantic's Nivien Saleh, Talal had spoken to the Saudi king on behalf of the convicted Shaima Jastaniah. "This should have been enough to close the case. But it wasn't." As Saleh notes, the medium for the announcement could be the reason clerics haven't acknowledged the king's pardon:

As Shaima told me, this tweet was the most official statement of royal pardon that she received. Whether the Kingdom's clerics are consciously snubbing King Abdallah's second-hand declaration or whether they lack the digital awareness to appreciate Twitter as a means of policymaking is unclear. But the tweet left them unfazed.

Check out Saleh's account of Shaima's ordeal, which introduces us to the audacious Texas-raised Saudi who is now "going nuclear" on women's rights in the patriarchal country by bringing her case to the attention of the international press.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.