Saudi Women Activists Face Jail for Helping Canadian

A Saudi appeals court upheld a jail sentence against two women rights activists. Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Oyouni were sentenced last June to 10 months in jail followed by a 2-year travel ban for seeking to help a Canadian woman who wanted to leave her Saudi husband with their children.

“The sentence could be carried out in the next few days,” al-Huwaider said on Wednesday.

The activist said the court’s decision to uphold the sentence “sends a strong message to all Saudi women saying anyone who demands social justice for her fellow women will face the same fate, and will have to deal with what is worse if necessary.”

Al-Huwaider, a member of Human Rights Watch Middle East advisory committee, said she believes the government pursued case to punish her for unrelated women’s rights activism over the the years, including calls to lift the ban on driving.

HRW urged the Saudi government to drop the case against al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni.