Authorities in Saudi Arabia have released two women who stood up for women’s rights in the country. That is what the human rights organization Al Qst ., operating in Saudi Arabia and London, has said announced on sunday. It concerns the arrested in 2018 Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah. That same year, they were sentenced to five years in prison, two of which were probation; the two have served their sentences.
According to international news agencies, the women are not allowed to travel abroad for five years. They are also likely to receive a media ban, prohibiting them from talking to the press or commenting on their case via social media.
The two oppose, among other things, the strict male guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia. Under those laws, women had to obtain permission from husbands, fathers and sometimes even sons of women in order to obtain a passport or to travel. Badawi and Al-Sadah also argued for the right of women to drive. Although the women were arrested, both child custody laws and the driving ban on women have since been lifted.
The case of Samar Badawi, whose sister-in-law lives in Canada, sparked international tension after Canada called on Saudi authorities to “release immediately” the activists. Saudi Arabia reacted vexed to this; it expelled the Canadian ambassador and also withdrew its own envoy from Ottawa. New trade and investment were also frozen and flights from Saudi Airways to Toronto were suspended.