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BBC: Saudi women to be allowed to argue cases in court

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Justice Minister Mohammed al-Eissa said the law was part of King Abdullah’s plan to develop the legal system.

The law – to be issued “in the coming days” – would allow women to appear in court on family-related cases, including divorce and child custody.

At the moment, they can only work behind the scenes in government and court offices.

The new legislation will also allow Saudi women to complete certain procedures without the presence of a witness.

“In accordance with the new law, women will be able to complete their preliminary procedures with notaries by just presenting their IDs,” said Ministry of Justice official Osama al-Mirdas, according to Arab News.

Under a system of male guardianship, Saudi Arabian women are required to be kept separate from men they are not related to.

All are veiled to a greater or lesser degree in public, they are not allowed to drive, and women under 45 must receive permission from a male when they travel.

Opportunities for education and employment are also dependent on male guardianship.

But a number of steps have been taken to ease restrictions – for instance women are now allowed to stay in hotels unaccompanied.

Last year, a senior cleric was removed after criticising a new mixed-sex science and technology university.

The cleric, Sheikh Saad al-Shethry, had described the mixing of sexes in any university as evil and a great sin.

Source: BBC

Consider the addition of superflous material in the article, just to keep the media image of oppressed Muslim women “preserved”.

ArabNews has the same information without the “extras” but a loaded title “New law will end male dominance in Saudi courts”:

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s justice minister says his department is drafting a law that would allow female lawyers to argue legal cases in court for the first time.

Mohammed Al-Eissa told reporters on Saturday the bill will be issued in the coming days as part of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s “plan to develop the justice system.” The law would mark a major step for female lawyers in the Kingdom. Currently, women law graduates can work in government offices and in court offices, but cannot argue cases before court.

Under the new law, women would be allowed to argue cases on child custody, divorce and other family-related issues.

The proposed new law to be issued by the Ministry of Justice would also allow Saudi women to complete certain procedures with notaries without presenting any witnesses.

“In accordance with the new law, women will be able to complete their preliminary procedures with notaries by just presenting their IDs,” said Osama Al-Mirdas, assistant deputy minister of justice for documents.

He said women would be able to complete judicial procedures for registration of properties, housing plans, merging of real estate properties of different persons or classification of property ownership, by just presenting their IDs. “They can also use IDs for mortgaging real estate at nongovernmental funds and for authorizing corporate contracts, sponsorship and gifts.” Al-Mirdas said the new regulations were planned in order to facilitate judicial procedures and break the routine barriers that obstruct women from approaching notaries. “Non-Saudis also need not bring any friends or relatives as witnesses for the endorsement of power of attorney and they can get the work done by just showing their IDs,” he said. However, non-Saudi women should bring at least one person — a close relative — as a witness, along with her ID.

Al-Mirdas said cases of suspending property ownership and prevention of power of attorneys would be monitored through the Ministry’s computer system and the notaries would not be able to complete procedures related to property registration or power of attorney for persons who are blacklisted.

“The ministry will also publish a format for powers of attorney on its website in order to help people to prepare their applications on that basis before presenting them to notaries. We have also updated the guidelines for judicial procedures for distribution,” he said.

The ministry has also introduced a new documentation system in tune with the systems followed in advanced countries, he said, adding that it had reduced the burden of courts.

“The new procedures are aimed at reducing the burden of those who approach judicial authorities to get their works done and speed up things without affecting the correctness of documents and soundness of procedures. They also aim at realizing justice and protecting the rights of people,” Al-Mirdas said.

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Source: ArabNews

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

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