In March 2002, fifteen girls died when Saudi religious police blocked rescue efforts and left victims to perish in a blazing school. But this time the sheikhs are being held to account and pressure for reform is growing.
In April the state government, led by the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), proposed a bill to institute new laws governing rape. It was set to be tabled in the State government special assembly in July.
Women's rights in Muslim laws is a topic that has become more and more sensitive with the passing of Sharia Acts in several states in Nigeria. This began with Zamfara State in November 1999, but presently also includes Niger, Sokoto, and Kano.
A Nigerian woman and co-ordinator of BAOBAB for Women's Human Rights, Ayesha Imam has been selected as this year's John Humphrey Freedom Award recipient for her work in support of women's rights whether under Muslim, secular, or customary laws.
The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Vadodara Shanti Abhiyan (VSA) report severely indicts the state government, the city police and local politicians for instigating and committing violence.