Women no longer need identifiers at Saudi courts


Published — Wednesday 12 February 2014

Last update 16 March 2014 2:16 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

The Supreme Judicial Council has decided that Saudi women no longer have to have males identify them at court hearings, and would only require their identity cards.
The council issued a circular to all the courts on Monday to announce its decision.
The move has been welcomed by Saudis.
“This has brought an end to the dilemma that both women and judges used to face when trying to identify women who appear in court. Sometimes the identifier would be the plaintiff or the defendant in the same case,” said Ali Al-Alyani, a columnist and editor in chief of Ya Hala talk show.
“The previous practice gave men the upper hand in cases where they would either refuse to identify the woman or give false information in some cases,” he said.
Suhaila Zain Al-Abideen, a social activist and member of the National Society for Human Rights, said the ID cards of women previously had no value in Saudi courts.
“There is nothing in Islam that states that women need an identifier when appearing in a court in front of a judge. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the first judge in Islam and he never asked a woman to bring along an identifier,” she said.
“A judge once told me that this was a decision taken by the Ministry of Interior. I was surprised because the ID card was issued by them but was only accepted when produced by a man,” she said. Al-Abideen said many women have lost their rights in cases.
For example, a woman’s brother would take her inheritance by presenting his wife in place of her in court, she said.
She said males in these positions are the “worst financial abusers.”
Al-Alyani said other ideas suggested by the Ministry of Justice were never implemented by the courts and judges. “They talked about hiring women at the courts whose only job it would have been to verify women with their photo IDs.”
“Another idea is to use fingerprints to identify women. The Supreme Judicial Council is currently requesting this,” he said.
Lawyer Abdul Kareem Abdul Wahed said the decision would ensure justice for many women and reduce cases of identity theft. He said the courts have a backlog of cases involving women because they failed to bring males to identify them.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has announced new legislation for the Dec. 12 elections, including fines and imprisonment for failure to disclose candidate financing, obstructing procedures or officials, and fraudulent activity.Vi...
JEDDAH: The low turnout of Saudis registering for the municipal elections is likely caused by the poor performance of previous councils, lack of a voting culture, inadequate understanding of the duties of councils, and the timing of the elections wit...
JEDDAH: The Foundation of Pilgrim Guides for Non-Arab African Countries plans to create 5,000 seasonal jobs during this year’s Haj, said Minister of Haj Bandar Hajjar on Tuesday. Hajjar said the foundation adopted an operational plan to provide quali...
JEDDAH: Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal bin Saud held talks with Indian diplomats on strengthening bilateral ties between the two nations.“The foundation of Saudi-Indian ties is very strong,” said Indian Charge d’Affaires Hemant Kotalwar during...
JEDDAH: The extreme heat and business hours of the Kingdom leave very little time for residents to enjoy leisurely activities away from home. The only convenient time that remains is the evening, a time when cool breezes sweep through Jeddah and the...
DAMMAM: The glistening sea, unique islands, majestic mountains and vast plains make Jazan a diverse and memorable place to visit. Additionally, its forests, lakes, and waterfalls offer picturesque places for visitors to relax and enjoy nature. On the...

Stay Connected