Saudi authorities are reportedly planning to push ahead with a court ruling and flog a woman for defying a ban on female driving despite winning a royal pardon.
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Shaima Jastaniya was sentenced to 10 lashes by a court in the city of Jeddah in September for persistently flouting the conservative kingdom's men-only driving rule.
The court's ruling, however, was overturned days later by the Saudi Arabian ruler, King Abdullah, who pardoned Jastaniya upon a request from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire entrepreneur who is Saudi Arabia's richest man, and his wife, Princess Ameerah, to spare the young mother.
The royal couple called Jastaniya and reassured her that the charges against her would be dropped. But it seems that no one has informed the court in Jeddah and it has now sent a notification to Jastaniya announcing that her sentence is still in place.
It is widely believed that the Saudi government wants to make an example of her.
"Shaima is frightened and very confused," said a friend and fellow activist, adding that, "She thought that this was finished, but apparently not. It was bad enough that she was sentenced, but if she is pardoned and still gets punished it would be ridiculous."
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving. The ban is not enforced by law but is a religious fatwa imposed by the country's Wahhabi clerics.
Wahhabism is an extremely intolerant interpretation of Islam and gained momentum after the discovery of oil in the kingdom in 1938. Saudi Arabia is a Wahhabi state.