First female law firm opened in Jeddah

Updated 05 February 2014

First female law firm opened in Jeddah

In what is being seen as a major boost for Saudi women seeking legal advice and help, Bayan Mahmoud Al-Zahran, the first Saudi woman lawyer who was issued license to practice law in the Kingdom, launched the first female law firm for the benefit of Saudi women on Wednesday.
Bayan Al-Zahran became the first Saudi woman lawyer when she appeared at the General Court in Jeddah for the first time in November last year to defend a client. She had been working for years as a legal consultant and had represented dozens of people in criminal and civil cases besides family disputes.
Al-Zahran told Arab News that the objective of her law firm is to fight for the rights of Saudi women and bring their problems before the court, since male lawyers in many cases couldn’t understand the problems and situations of a female plaintiff.
She said that she was planning to take up labor cases and business disputes but would also dedicate her time to women’s cases.
“I believe women lawyers can contribute a lot to the legal system. This law firm will make a difference in the history of court cases and female disputes in the Kingdom. I am very hopeful and thank everyone who supported me in taking this historical step,” she said.
Al-Zahran said in the past, Saudi women faced problems finding a female lawyer who could represent them in the court. However, with the establishment of her law firm, this problem will be solved, she said, adding that she was ready to take up cases of both genders.
She said she was looking forward to progress of women lawyers in Saudi Arabia in protecting the rights of women. “This is a very positive step toward the Saudi court and justices as right now, we are four female lawyers who got the license, but I am hopeful that in future, the number will increase,” she added.
Al-Zahran’s father Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Zahran said this is the first step toward the protection of the women’s rights in the Kingdom. “We are very proud of our daughter who stands firm for protection of women’s rights. This will help all women who couldn’t go and speak to male lawyers about their problems,” he said.
The launch was attended by Mazen Batterjee, vice president of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, Zuhair Nawab, president of the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), Dr. Hussain Al Shareef , supervisor general of National Human Rights Organization, Makkah, Dr. Suhail Sawan, executive director of national committee for prisoners, Dr. Inam Ribwai, director of children surgery at King Fahad hospital and former director of family protection organization, and a number of businessmen and society ladies, doctors, lawyers, academics and jurists.
Mazen Batterjee, while congratulating Bayan ad all the female lawyers, however, emphasised on Shariah law in every aspect of life and in law practice in Saudi courts.
He said female lawyers should follow the restrictions of the court for hijab since Islam while giving rights to women, also had ethics in place for women while presenting themselves before a judge.
He hoped this first step toward a women’s law firm will be successful and follow all the rules and regulations of court and religion.
Dr. Suhail Sawan said that Al-Zahran was working for years as legal consultant and studying cases of prisons which gave her excellent exposure. This law firm is a milestone in that there are situations which can only be understood and represented by a female lawyer, he said.


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 10 min 48 sec ago

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.