Showing posts with label Saudi Arabia. Domestic Violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saudi Arabia. Domestic Violence. Show all posts

November 12, 2018

MBS Crown Prince Discussed Assassination of Enemies A year Before The Khashoggi Killing

"Turkey Shared a tape with the Saudis and the US while Khashoggi was being stranguled with a plastic bad. You can hear him say he can't breathe"Adamfoxie

 
 MBS

 Top Saudi intelligence officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked a small group of businessmen last year about using private companies to assassinate Iranian enemies of the kingdom, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
The Saudis inquired at a time when Prince Mohammed, then the deputy crown prince and defense minister, was consolidating power and directing his advisers to escalate military and intelligence operations outside the kingdom. Their discussions, more than a year before the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, indicate that top Saudi officials have considered assassinations since the beginning of Prince Mohammed’s ascent.
Saudi officials have portrayed Mr. Khashoggi’s death as a rogue killing ordered by an official who has since been fired. But that official, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, was present for a meeting in March 2017 in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, where the businessmen pitched a $2 billion plan to use private intelligence operatives to try to sabotage the Iranian economy.

During the discussion, part of a series of meetings where the men tried to win Saudi funding for their plan, General Assiri’s top aides inquired about killing Qassim Suleimani, the leader of the Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and a man considered a determined enemy of Saudi Arabia.

The interest in assassinations, covert operations and military campaigns like the war in Yemen — overseen by Prince Mohammed — is a change for the kingdom, which historically has avoided an adventurous foreign policy that could create instability and imperil Saudi Arabia’s comfortable position as one of the world’s largest oil suppliers.
As for the businessmen, who had intelligence backgrounds, they saw their Iran plan both as a lucrative source of income and a way to cripple a country that both they and the Saudis considered a profound threat. George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, arranged the meeting. He had met previously with Prince Mohammed, and had pitched the Iran plan to Trump White House officials. Another participant in the meetings was Joel Zamel, an Israeli with deep ties to his country’s intelligence and security agencies.
Both Mr. Nader and Mr. Zamel are witnesses in the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, and prosecutors have asked them about their discussions with American and Saudi officials about the Iran proposal. It is unclear how this line of inquiry fits into Mr. Mueller’s broader inquiry. In 2016, a company owned by Mr. Zamel, Psy-Group, had pitched the Trump campaign on a social media manipulation plan.
A spokesman for the Saudi government declined to comment, as did lawyers for both Mr. Nader and Mr. Zamel.

During the March 2017 meeting about the plan to sabotage Iran’s economy, according to the three people familiar with the discussions, the Saudis asked the businessmen whether they also “conducted kinetics” — lethal operations — saying they were interested in killing senior Iranian officials. The businessmen hesitated, saying they would need to consult their lawyer.

The lawyer flatly rejected the plan, and the businessmen told the Saudis they would not take part in any assassinations. Mr. Nader told the Saudis about a London-based company run by former British special operations troops that might take on the contract. It is unclear which company he suggested.
Before he was ousted last month, General Assiri was considered one of Prince Mohammed’s closest advisers, a man whose sharp ascent tracked the rise of the young crown prince. In 2016, he became the public face of Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen, giving briefings about the state of the war. He traveled frequently to Washington, where Saudi-paid lobbyists brought him to think tanks to give optimistic assessments about the campaign’s progress and he extolled the Saudi concern for the welfare of civilians.
By 2017, however, the Saudi campaign that General Assiri oversaw in Yemen had ground into a military stalemate and, despite his assurances, a humanitarian catastrophe. But his patron, Prince Mohammed, also consolidated his power over all of the kingdom’s security apparatuses, and he promoted General Assiri to the deputy head of the kingdom’s spy agency, the General Intelligence Directorate.
Western analysts believe that Prince Mohammed moved General Assiri there in part to keep an eye on the spy chief, Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah al-Humaidan, known as Abu Ali, who was close to Western intelligence agencies and suspected of harboring loyalties to one of the crown prince’s royal rivals.
General Assiri was dismissed last month when the Saudi government acknowledged Mr. Khashoggi’s killing and said he had organized the operation. On Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said his government had handed over a recording of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing to the United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain and France, pressuring President Trump to more harshly punish the Saudis over the murder.

Mr. Nader’s and Mr. Zamel’s plan dates to the beginning of 2016, when they started discussing an ambitious campaign of economic warfare against Iran similar to one waged by Israel and the United States during the past decade aimed at coercing Iran to end its nuclear program. They sketched out operations like revealing hidden global assets of the Quds force; creating fake social media accounts in Farsi to foment unrest in Iran; financing Iranian opposition groups; and publicizing accusations, real or fictitious, against senior Iranian officials to turn them against one another.
Mr. Nader is an adviser to the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, a country that, along with Saudi Arabia and Israel, has identified Iran as the primary threat to stability in the Middle East.
Both he and Mr. Zamel believed that Hillary Clinton’s anticipated victory in the 2016 election meant a continuation of the Iran nuclear deal signed by President Barack Obama — and little appetite in Washington for a concerted campaign to cripple the Iranian economy. So, they decided to pitch the plan to Saudi and Emirati officials, even submitting a proposal to General Assiri during a meeting in Belgium.
The election of Donald J. Trump changed their calculus, and shortly after, Mr. Nader and Mr. Zamel traveled to New York to sell both Trump transition officials and Saudi generals on their Iran plan.
Mr. Nader’s initiative to try to topple the Iranian economy was first reported in May by The New York Times. His discussions in New York with General Assiri and other Saudi officials were reported last month by The Daily Beast.
Mr. Nader and Mr. Zamel enlisted Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater and an adviser to the Trump transition team. They had already discussed elements of their plan with Mr. Prince, in a meeting when they learned of his own paramilitary proposals that he planned to try to sell to the Saudis. A spokesman for Mr. Prince declined to comment.
In a suite on one of the top floors of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York, Mr. Zamel and Mr. Nader spoke to General Assiri and his aides about their Iran plan. The Saudis were interested in the idea but said it was so provocative and potentially destabilizing that they wanted to get the approval of the incoming Trump administration before Saudi Arabia paid for the campaign.
After Mr. Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, Mr. Nader met frequently with White House officials to discuss the economic sabotage plan.
General Assiri’s interest in assassinations was unsurprising but unrepresentative of official policy, said one Saudi loyal to Prince Mohammed and familiar with the inquiry into the Khashoggi killing. The investigation had shown the general to be a grandiose and ambitious renegade who sought to impress the crown prince with unauthorized schemes for black operations, the person said.
But General Assiri’s well-known closeness to the crown prince — the general often joined Prince Mohammed for meetings in Riyadh with visiting American officials — might make it difficult for the prince’s supporters to distance him from the proposals, just as the same connections have helped convince Western intelligence agencies that the prince must have known about the plot against Mr. Khashoggi.
Moreover, General Assiri and his lieutenants were meeting with Mr. Nader around the same time that Mr. Nader was meeting with Prince Mohammed himself, as Saudi officials have acknowledged. In emails to a business associate obtained by The Times, Mr. Nader sometimes referred to conversations he held with Prince Mohammed — also known by his initials, M.B.S. — about other projects he had discussed with General Assiri.
“Had a truly magnificent meeting with M.B.S.,” Mr. Nader wrote in early 2017, discussing possible Saudi contracts. The crown prince, he said, had advised him to “review it and discuss it with General Ahmed.”

July 20, 2017

Reuters Reports Attempted Coupe At Saudi Palace and Arrest of 1st in Line for Throne




Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) and prince Mohammed bin Nayef



(Reuters) - On Tuesday, June 20 Mohammed bin Nayef, a powerful figure in Saudi Arabia's security apparatus for the past two decades and the next in line to the throne, was summoned to meet King Salman bin Abdulaziz on the fourth floor of the royal palace in Mecca. 

There, according to a source close to MbN, as he is known, the king ordered him to step aside in favor of the king's favorite son, Mohammed bin Salman. The reason: an addiction to pain-killing drugs was clouding MbN's judgment. 

"The king came to meet MbN and they were alone in the room. He told him: 'I want you to step down, you didn't listen to the advice to get treatment for your addiction which dangerously affects your decisions'," said the source close to MbN. 

The new details about the extraordinary meeting between the king and MbN that touched off the de facto palace coup help to explain the events that are reshaping the leadership of the world's biggest oil exporting nation. 

Reuters could not independently confirm MbN's addiction issues. 

A senior Saudi official said the account was totally "unfounded and untrue in addition to being nonsense". 

"The story depicted here is a complete fantasy worthy of Hollywood," the official said in a statement to Reuters, which did not refer to MbN's alleged use of drugs. 

The official said MbN had been removed in the national interest and had not experienced any "pressure or disrespect". Reasons for his dismissal were "confidential". 

Sources with knowledge of the situation said however that the king was determined to elevate his son to be heir to the throne and used MbN's drug problem as a pretext to push him aside. 

Three royal insiders, four Arab officials with links to the ruling house of Saud, and diplomats in the region, told Reuters that MbN was surprised to be ordered to step aside. 

"It was a big shock to MbN," said a Saudi political source close to MbN. "It was a coup. He wasn't prepared." 

The sources said MbN did not expect to be usurped by the often impulsive Mohammed bin Salman, who MbN considered to have made a number of policy blunders, such as his handling of the Yemen conflict and cutting financial benefits to civil servants. 

The high-stakes power grab has placed sweeping powers in the hands of the 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MbS, and appears designed to speed his accession to the throne. 

Should he get the job, the young prince will preside over a kingdom facing tough times from depressed oil prices, the conflict in Yemen, rivalry with an emboldened Iran and a major diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.    

The source close to MbN acknowledged that he had health issues, which were aggravated after an al Qaeda attacker tried to blow himself up in front of him in his palace in 2009. The health issues were corroborated by three other sources in Saudi Arabia and Arab official sources with links to the royal family.  
An Arab source with close Saudi links also provided a similar account of the meeting at which King Salman asked MbN to step down because of his alleged drug addiction. 

These sources said MbN had shrapnel in his body that could not be removed and he depended on drugs such as morphine to alleviate the pain. One source said MbN had been treated in clinics in Switzerland on three occasions in recent years. Reuters was unable to confirm this independently.  

A Palace Coup 

The King moved ahead of a meeting of the Political and Security Council. The meeting was due to start at 11 pm, but a few hours before that, MbN received what he viewed as a routine phone call from Mohammed bin Salman. According to the source close to MbN, Mohammed bin Salman told MbN that the king wanted to see him. 

In the hours that followed the meeting in which MbN was dismissed, the House of Saud's Allegiance Council, comprising the ruling family's senior members, were informed of a letter written in the name of the king. 

Drafted by palace advisers to MbS, it said MbN had a medical condition - drug addiction - and "we have been trying for over two years to persuade him to seek treatment but to no avail". 

"Because of this dangerous situation we see that he should be relieved of his position and that Mohammed bin Salman be appointed in his place," the Saudi source close to MbN quoted excerpts of the letter as saying. 

The letter was read over the phone to members of the Allegiance Council, while MbN was kept isolated in a room all night, his mobile phone removed, and cut off from contact with his aides. His bodyguards from elite paramilitary interior ministry units were also replaced.  

Envoys were sent to council members to get their signatures. All but three of 34 signed. The coup had worked. 

Calls by council members who backed MbN's removal were recorded and played to him by a palace adviser to demonstrate the strength of the forces against him and to discourage any urge the 57-year-old crown prince might have to resist. 

According to two Saudi sources with links to the royal house, only three members of the council opposed his overthrow: Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, a former interior minister, Abdulaziz bin Abdallah, a representative of the family of late king Abdallah, and Prince Mohammad bin Saad, a former deputy governor of Riyadh. The three could not immediately be reached for comment. 

At dawn MbN gave up. He told a palace adviser that he was ready to see the king. The meeting was short. MbN agreed to step down and signed a document to that effect. 

When MbN left the king's quarters, he was surprised to see MbS waiting for him, the adviser said. MbN was embraced and kissed by MbS while television cameras rolled. 

Soon afterward a pre-written statement was released announcing the king's decision to make his son the next crown prince. This was the clip that would play on all Saudi and Gulf media over the coming hours and days. 

  

House Arrest 

MbN remains under house arrest to keep him out of circulation following his overthrow, with no visitors allowed except close family members. He is not taking calls, the source close to MbN said. In the past week he was only granted permission to visit his elderly mother with the new guards assigned to him. 

The senior Saudi official said, however, that MbN had received guests, including the king and the new crown prince. 

The source close to MbN said he would like to take his family to Switzerland or London but the king and MbS had decided that he must stay. "He wasn't given any choice." 

The White House and CIA declined to comment. A senior administration official said Washington knew that MbS was the favorite of the king but "beyond that, it's very opaque". 

The elevation of MbS had been predicted by some Saudi and Western officials, but it came much sooner than expected with a rushed exit for MbN. 

Since King Salman's accession, there had been clear indications that MbS was favored over MbN, setting the stage for the younger prince to eclipse the formal heir to the throne.  

MbS was given unprecedented power by his ailing 81-year-old father, which he used to reorder the top jobs in the political, oil, security, security and intelligence sectors, often without the knowledge of MbN, according to diplomats and Saudi political and security sources. 

Since Salman took the helm just over two years ago, MbS has placed his men in key positions. MbS has been interfering in MbN's interior ministry, appointing, promoting and firing officers without informing him. 

The succession quarrel, the sources said, began in 2015 when MbN's personal court was disbanded and merged with the court of the king, preventing MbN from bestowing independent patronage and cultivating support. This was followed by the sacking of Saad al-Jabri, MbN's security adviser. 

When Donald Trump entered the White House, MbS cultivated contacts in Washington to offset the strong support that MbN had in the U.S. security and intelligence establishment because of his successes against al Qaeda. 

The source close to MbN told Reuters the putsch went ahead after MbS struck up a strong relationship with Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. 

A White House official declined to comment when asked about Kushner’s relationship with MbS. 

The official, referring to MbN's removal as Crown Prince and MbS’ ascension to the post, said: 

“The United States government also sought not to intervene or to be seen as intervening in such a sensitive internal matter. We have great respect for the King, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Prince Mohammed bin Salman and we consistently stressed our desire to maintain cooperation with the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and its leadership. This message was communicated at all levels of government.” 

With MbS's sudden ascent, there is now speculation among diplomats and Saudi and Arab officials that King Salman is poised to abdicate in favor of his son. 

Quoting a witness at the palace, one Saudi source said King Salman this month pre-recorded a statement in which he announces the transfer of the throne to his son. The announcement could be broadcast at any time, perhaps as soon as September. 

Reporting by Reuters

April 13, 2016

SaudisTell UN Human Council Their Support for LGBT Executions


                                                                          


The ‘crucifixion’ of 5 beheaded bodies in Saudi Arabia.



At the most recent session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Saudi Arabia objected to a resolution that condemns the use of torture by law enforcement and reaffirms the human rights of LGBT people.

The resolution, passed during the council’s 31st session, which closed on March 24, condemns the use of torture “and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and urges nations to prevent torture by police or during pre-trial detention.

The 'crucifixion' of 5 beheaded bodies in Saudi Arabia.While the report is primarily focused on police and governmental use of torture, it briefly references the latest report by Juan Mendez, the special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which was issued during the session.

According to a U.N. press release, Saudi Arabia protested because Mendez’s report “included 65 references to sexual orientation and was an attempt to use the eradication of torture to promote other issues, which lacked any ground in international law.”

In essence, the Gulf kingdom, claiming to be speaking “on behalf of a number of countries,” was concerned that objecting to police torture might also require its own government to advocate for the human rights of LGBT people.

In Saudi Arabia, homosexual behavior is punishable by the death penalty. Three gay men were executed by beheading there in 2002. In July 2014, Saudi Arabia sentenced another gay man to three years imprisonment and 450 lashes for meeting men on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Human Rights Council has provoked controversy in the past, especially in September, when the nation was asked to lead the “Consultative Group,” which helps the council appoint human rights experts who serve in a variety of peacekeeping roles around the world. Cables released by WikiLeaks last year revealed that the Saudis made a secret deal with the United Kingdom to ensure their places in the council.

The HRC has affirmed that human rights are universal, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, most recently in a 2014 resolution — a resolution which Saudi Arabia voted against.

Saudi Arabia continues to crack down on LGBT use of social media. According to a March 31 report by Vocativ, the kingdom is considering executing people for “coming out” online.

“The extreme proposal comes amid a reported surge in the number of homosexuality-related crimes being prosecuted in the city of Jeddah, which officials attribute to a growing use of social media among members of the kingdom’s LGBT community,” wrote Shane Dixon Kavanaugh.

Saudi Arabia’s objection to any recognition of LGBT human rights may ultimately be a distraction from the kingdom’s overall fondness for torture in all its forms. Amnesty International’s website declares that “Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world.” In addition to routine use of torture, the NGO also cites “public execution, discrimination, intolerance for free speech, possible war crimes in Yemen,” among many other offenses.

Despite these well-documented violations, Saudi Arabia remains a close ally of the United States. The U.S. continues to arm the Saudi military despite repeated war crimes in Yemen. Few mainstream media sites seemed to take note of the recent crackdown on LGBT social media use, even as similar behavior by terrorist groups like Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the extremist group commonly known in the West as ISIS or ISIL) is widely condemned in the media.

Speaking to Catherine Shakdam in January, investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley said the special treatment afforded to Saudi Arabia “exemplified America’s exceptionalism.”

Shakdam concurred, adding:

“Saudi Arabia’s ‘special friendship’ with the U.S. … has allowed for U.S. officials to pick and choose when to show outrage and when to denounce human rights violations, manipulating international law to the tune of their own political agendas, rather than objectively defending the rule of law.”

mintpressnews.com    GENEVA 

January 11, 2016

Even Straight Dating in Saudi Arabia is a Dicey Thing



                                                                           


One winter day a few years ago, I met a girl I really liked. I saw her at a park in Qatif. We were looking at each other, so I went up to her and said, ‘‘Hi, you look beautiful.’’ She thanked me, and I handed her a piece of paper with my number on it. ‘‘We should talk more,’’ I told her. ‘‘I’m interested in you.’’ Then I left immediately.

We started talking on the phone for hours every day. Her name was Samar. She was 18, pretty and slender, with long black hair and light brown skin. About a week later, when my parents went to Turkey for the weekend, we had a safe place to meet. She told her parents that she was going shopping. I picked her up at a mall and drove her to my house.

Dating is complicated in Saudi Arabia. You have to be careful just talking to a woman, because if someone finds out, it can be a really big problem. So it’s better not to tell anybody. If you want to go to a cafe with her, you totally can’t. The police might stop you and ask, ‘‘Who’s that?’’ If you say she is your sister, they ask for proof. If they find out she isn’t your sister, they will take you to the police station. If you are found guilty of khilwa — when a man and woman who are not family members are together alone — you can go to jail for a few months. You can also be lashed 100 times. Sometimes you’re told that you have to marry the woman. That way you might not have to go to jail.

When we arrived at my house, I gave her flowers. As a young Saudi guy, I was not used to being alone with a girl. (Before Samar, it had happened only a few times.) I didn’t know what to talk about or how to act, so I started showing her my PC and my Xbox, that kind of stuff. She wasn’t a serious gamer, but she played video games. I liked that she could speak English, and we liked the same music.

The girls I’d met before had been scared of sex. This time was different. I felt she wanted to do something because she kissed me first. We were sitting on the couch in my living room, staring at each other. She got closer to me, and that was it. After kissing for a while, I said: ‘‘I’m not comfortable here on the couch. Why don’t we go to my room?’’
Thankfully, it worked out O.K. It was the first time for me, but I knew what to do. How? Every single young Saudi guy watches porn. I’m not joking. I mean all of them. Afterward, I told her that it was my first time. She said she didn’t believe me. I didn’t want to say I learned everything from porn, but she probably guessed.

This kind of thing goes on a lot in private in my country. There are young people who have sex before marriage, drink or use drugs and don’t care about religion. I grew up with religion all around me, and I’m still Muslim, but I don’t believe that Islam is like this. Sure, we broke the law, but I didn’t feel guilty. I was actually happy, as if I could do this every day. I was like: ‘‘Screw the police. I don’t give a damn.’’ She felt the same way. She hated the police, too.

It really sucks to live in a place where it’s against the law to fall in love. We agreed that the society we lived in was wrong about this. It’s just wrong, it’s super wrong. That’s why we did whatever we liked. Many young men and women in Saudi Arabia have to live a double life.
  
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We lay in bed for a while, and then we got really hungry. It was evening. We went to the kitchen, and she cooked steak for me. Then her father called, asking her where she was, because it was getting late. She said she was still at the mall and would come right home. She was really scared that her family had found out she was with me. I dropped her off near her home and told her to call me later to tell me what happened with her parents. But she didn’t call. I was really worried. I thought she was caught. I was like: ‘‘I’m busted, I’m so busted.’’ The next morning, she finally sent me a message saying everything was O.K. and they didn’t know.
We met a lot after that, when my parents went away on weekends, and talked a lot on the phone. She was my first real girlfriend and my first love. She said I was hers. We had that kind of conversation. She said she really loved me. We talked about marriage a few times.

About a year later, I did something really stupid. I met another girl. I just saw her once, but Samar found out when she looked at my phone. ‘‘I was wrong,’’ I told her. ‘‘It was a mistake. I’m not going to do it again.’’ But she broke up with me.

Since then, I’ve met other girls. But when I went out with them, I didn’t feel the same way. I felt good, O.K., but not as good as with Samar. I thought she was the perfect one for me. But it was too late, and she was gone.

As told to Daniel Krieger. 

Hassan, 23, lives in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, and works in the tech industry. He asked for his surname to be withheld because of the risk associated with telling his story. Being alone with an unrelated woman and having premarital sex are banned in Saudi Arabia. 

HASSAN

September 3, 2013

Human Rights Groups Feeling Better About Saudi’s Changes on "Domestic Violence"



 Human rights campaigners have welcomed a landmark decision in Saudi Arabia designed to combat domestic violence.
However, they urge caution. The country's legal system is based on sharia law and rarely sees new laws being introduced. Critics allege that Saudi Arabia is known for suppressing women's rights, and it remains to be seen how this law will be put into practice, according to experts.
For the first time in Saudi Arabia's history the kingdom's cabinet has approved a ban on domestic violence and other forms of abuse both at home and in the workplace. The law, which was passed last Monday, is meant to protect every citizen, but in particular the most vulnerable including children, women and domestic workers. The law is expected to be implemented within 90 days.
Adam Coogle, a Saudi Arabia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said: "We welcome the law because it makes crimes such as physical and emotional abuse easier to prosecute and it is a step in the right direction -- but the law has some major drawbacks. I'd urge caution until we see how exactly this law will be implemented and whether domestic abuse cases will now actually be punished in courts."
The law states that physical or sexual violence is punishable with a minimum jail sentence of one month and a maximum of one year, and fines of up to $13,300. Judges can double the sentence for repeat offenders. Abuse victims will be given access to necessary health care, psychological treatment and family counseling.
According to Coogle, male guardianship in Saudi Arabia is a major obstacle to the new law. "How can a woman escape an abusive husband if she's not allowed to drive and can't even travel without the permission of her male guardian?" Coogle said. He is also concerned that the law does not mention the issue of marital rape.
Eman Al Nafjan, a Saudi writer and blogger who tweets as Saudiwoman, told CNN: "Having this in a country where we still have male guardianship system, where we still have child marriage -- it's a contradiction -- these things are still legal and yet you're talking about protection from harassment. It doesn't seem like a system where a lot of action will be taken. This seems to be more about talking than actually implementing."
(Saudi woman files suit over right to drive)

Domestic violence is a problem in Saudi Arabia but no reliable figures exist on how many people get abused each year. According to researchers there have been very few instances in the past where rapes and physical violence cases went to court as women do not dare to come forward.
Until last week, no written penal code existed on domestic violence and physical abuse. That means that it was up to individual judges to determine what actions are illegal and how to punish them, if at all.
The new law makes it easier to punish such crimes as they now can rely on written regulations. "Judges own the courtroom," Coogle said. ""A man's testimony still carries more weight than that of a woman so we'll have to see whether this law will change the status quo.”

(Billionaire Saudi prince tweets support for women driving)
Bandar al-Aiban, President of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission which is backed by the Saudi government, told CNN: "This is a very important law. We've been working on it for a long time. I'm very pleased to see it enacted. King Abdullah himself is behind this law," he said.
"This shows the kingdom is really moving forward with enacting laws that protect its citizens and residents and to make sure the kingdom is now in accordance with international obligations and international standards regarding human rights."
Earlier this year, a campaign was launched calling for an end to violence against women. In the King Khalid Foundation advert a woman wears a hijab with only her eyes visible - one clearly bruised and blackened. A slogan written in Arabic underneath reads: "Some things can't be covered."
Mohammed Jamjoom contributed to this report.
By Stephanie Ott, CNN

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