A Saudi man has been sentenced to 10 days of prison and 30 lashings for beating his wife, reported the newspaper Al-Sharq on Wednesday, a rare verdict in the state where women are denied many rights.
A tribunal of the eastern province handed down the verdict on Tuesday confirming the woman’s complaint that her husband had hit her after an argument.
The complainant was invited by the tribunal to “be present for her husband’s lashings in order to see him suffer in turn”, reported Al-Sharq. The paper reported that the judge had ordered the man to attend a “conjugal training course”.
The man confessed to hitting his wife because she had “failed to show respect for members of her family”, the newspaper said, citing a judicial source.
A charitable organisation, the Foundation of King Khaled, has launched a media campaign in the past few weeks to denounce violence towards women in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
Human rights groups say women in Saudi Arabia, which enforces a strict version of Islam, are victims of discrimination in legislation and in daily life. Many women are not sufficiently protected against violence, including within the family, claimed Amnesty International in its last annual report. They are also still forbidden from driving, despite several campaigns led by opponents.
Women are obliged to be completely veiled when they leave the house, cannot travel without the authorisation of their husband or a male relative, and are forbidden from eating alone in restaurants.