Saudi authorities on Monday freed a woman jailed nine days ago for her role in promoting the right to drive for Saudi women. Manal Al Sharif, a 32-year-old computer security specialist employed by the oil giant ARAMCO, was detained May 22 after she defied the kingdom's ban on female drivers and posted a video of her action on YouTube, as part of a national campaign. 

The international solidarity network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) calls for the immediate release of Manal Al-Sharif. Saudi authorities have arrested an activist who launched a campaign to challenge a ban on women driving in the conservative kingdom. The media spokesman of the Directorate General of Prisons in Saudi Arabia, Colonel Dr Ayoub Ben, has confirmed that Manal Al-Sharif has been charged with breach of public order and security, and with ‘deliberately inciting the media and other Saudi women’ to drive cars. She will be detained for a further five days pending investigation. There are reports that Al-Sharif has signed a pledge in prison not to drive again in Saudi Arabia. UPDATE: Al-Sharif’s prison sentence has been extended for a further ten days, starting from Thursday 26 May. Women’s rights activist Wajeha al-Huwaider was called in for questioning by her employers, Saudi Aramco, regarding her support for Manal, and forced to sign a pledge not to support the 17 June campaign. Al-Huwaider added the disclaimer that she will continue demanding the right of women to drive through different channels until it is codified into law.

A recent hate campaign has been waged against the London-based academic and imam, Dr Usama Hasan. He has been victimised, accused of apostasy and has received death threats for his comments on evolution and the woman's right to choose whether or not to wear hijab. The Board of the Muslim Women’s Network-UK (http://www.mwnuk.co.uk/) strongly condemns the bullying and harassment of Dr Hasan. 

The International Solidarity Network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) is deeply shocked that a court in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, has sentenced a 45-year-old Christian woman, Asia Bibi, to death on the charge of having committed “blasphemy”. Although illiterate, she has been accused of denying the institution of prophet-hood by citing copious examples from the key texts of Islam. We join local human rights organizations, international women’s groups and religious minorities in calling for Pakistan to urgently repeal its Blasphemy Laws. We also appeal to the authorities to guarantee the safety of Asia Bibi and her family from the rage of local extremists, as well as investigate the violent persecution of the Christian community in the Punjab.

The Violence is Not our Culture Campaign (VNC) and Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) are deeply concerned over the continued denial of human rights in Iran in light of the Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani case. Lack of due process and the right to a fair trial, arbitrary detention, torture, and restrictions of freedom of information, of the press, and of association sadly constitute the status quo in the Islamic Republic.

Women’s Human Rights Defenders in the Gambia and WLUML networkers, Dr. Isatou Touray and Ms. Amie Bojang-Sissoho, were freed on the morning of Wednesday 20 October, after paying a bail of 1,500,000 dalasi (local currency) - approx £35,000. Details of their trial will shortly be posted.

Déclaration de WLUML et la Campagne mondiale «Arrêtons de tuer et de lapider les femmes » (Campagne SKSW) sur l’arrestation de Défenseuses des droits humains des femmes en Gambie, Dr. Isatou Touray et Mme Amie Bojang-Sissoho.
 

According to reliable reports from networkers in the Gambia who have visited Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho, the WLUML network is relieved to learn that they appeared well and in high spirits. Their lawyers had applied to the High Court for bail and the matter was set to be heard on Friday 15 October, but has been rescheduled for the original date of Wednesday 20 October.

WLUML Statement on the Arrest of Women’s Human Rights Defenders in the Gambia, Dr. Isatou Touray and Ms. Amie Bojang-Sissoho:The WLUML network is deeply concerned to learn of the arrests of our colleagues Dr. Isatou Touray and Ms. Amie Bojang-Sissoho on Monday, October 11, 2010 by an officer of the National Intelligence Agency in the Gambia. According to reports received, they had been threatened and harassed prior to their arrest, before being held in police custody until being transferred to the Mile Two Central Prison on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.

Le Réseau international de solidarité Femmes sous lois musulmanes (WLUML) et la Campagne mondiale « Arrêtons de tuer et de lapider les femmes! » salue l’annonce récente de la libération de Shiva Nazar Ahari, survenue le dimanche 12 septembre 2010.

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