Women no longer need identifiers at Saudi courts

Updated 16 March 2014
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Women no longer need identifiers at Saudi courts

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.


Launch of Joint Al-Jazeera Shield Drill in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

Updated 25 min 13 sec ago
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Launch of Joint Al-Jazeera Shield Drill in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

  • The two-week drill was launched in the presence of commander for the exercise, Gen. Abdullah bin Saeed Al-Qahtani, and commanders of participating Gulf forces
  • Al-Qahtani welcomed all participants and thanked them for their efforts in the planning and preparation of the drill

JEDDAH: Saudi armed forces and security sectors teamed up with land, maritime and air forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries for the tenth Joint Al-Jazeera Shield Drill on Saturday.
The two-week drill was launched in the presence of commander for the exercise, Gen. Abdullah bin Saeed Al-Qahtani, and commanders of participating Gulf forces.
Al-Qahtani welcomed all participants and thanked them for their efforts in the planning and preparation of the drill.
He said that the exercises aimed to promote cooperation and exchange experience between the Saudi and GCC countries forces to improve the level of training for all forces.
The exercise sought to develop skills and use the available resources to develop concepts and promote joint work, he added. The drill was part of a series of joint military drills between the GCC countries at various levels.
He said that the Joint Al-Jazeera Shield Drill was one of the largest exercises in the region and part of a comprehensive strategic vision by the Saudi Defense Ministry, which aims to constantly gain experience, promote security and military readiness under different circumstances to preserve security and stability in the Arab Gulf and the world.
Spokesman for the drill, Brig. Gen. Abdullah Hussein Al-Subaihi, said that it included four phases.
The first phase is the arrival of the forces via land, maritime and air entry points. The academic training phase, including conferences for all participating forces from all GCC countries, was also launched on Saturday.
The second phase is the command center drill; this exercise will train commanders to manage military operations and use simulators in virtual military operations.
The third phase consists of field training with live ammunition, and the fourth includes the closing ceremony and departure of forces.