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Sawsam Salim has been sentenced to 300 lashes and one and a half years in jail for appearing in court without a male chaperone and filing complaints against government officials who harassed her for doing so. Salim first appeared in court unchaperoned in 2004 requesting to get her husband, who could have been such a chaperone, out of prison.
“In Saudi Arabia, being a woman going about her legitimate business without a man’s protection is apparently a crime,” Nadya Khalife, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement. “The government needs to free Sawsan Salim and keep its promise to end this discriminatory system.”
The system requires women to get permission from a male relative to go to classes, work, to travel, open a bank account or receive non-emergency medical care. It also requires a woman to be accompanied by a male guardian to conduct public business, HRW said.