When 32-year-old divorcee Samar Al Badawi went to Jeddah court to challenge a “filial ingratitude” complaint filed by her father, the judge rejected her claims and ruled in favor of her father. And despite documented physical abuse, previous court rulings to lift her father’s guardianship, and even a royal order to send her to an abused women’s shelter from governor of Mecca Prince Khalid al-Faisal, the judge sent her to prison. This was a year ago, and Al Bawadi has not been released or seen her son since.
“The judge thinks a woman must submit to her father, regardless of how abusive he is, conservative judges hate the government’s women’s shelters because they empower women. They call them brothels.”
Waleed Abu Alkhair, Badawi’s lawyer, says:
“Keeping her in prison violates Saudi law. She is in prison without trial, let alone sentence, and is stuck indefinitely because only her father as guardian can check her out.”
Naturally, bloggers have gathered around Samar. She has a blog dedicated to her freedom, as well as a Twitter hashtag, a Facebook page, and a CrowdVoice campaign as well. Saudis are standing up for Al Badawi in every possible way, putting “Free Samar” designs on their webpages.
Sabq newspaper has published the details of the report that was prepared as per the Prince of Mecca’s orders to a special committee, which recommended that she be moved to a shelter for her safety. This was based on the fact that her father physically abused her. Not to mention that her dad used the fact that she co-signed a petition to give the women the right to drive 2 years ago as a sign of her “disobedience.”