Four Saudi women accused of beating up husbands

The women could face penalties under abuse protection laws including imprisonment or heavy fines

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The Saudi National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) is currently considering cases against four women accused of beating their husbands, Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Monday quoting the society's chairman Mufleh al-Qahtani.

He said the four women could face penalties under abuse protection laws including imprisonment or heavy fines.

Qahtani told a workshop that was discussing abuse laws in Riyadh on Sunday that a husband would be committing a crime if he beats his wife.

"It is left to the discretion of the judge to decide the punishment against the husband depending on where he has hit his wife," he said.

Qahtani said he considered slapping a woman on her face to be a graver crime than hitting her on the back or the buttocks. Abdullah al-Youssef, undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs, said the SR50,000 fine imposed on a husband who beats his wife will go to the Ministry of Finance and not to the victim as compensation.

"The wife may go to the court to obtain further justice against her abusive husband," he said.

The undersecretary said an abusive husband or wife may face imprisonment of up to a year or a fine of up to SR50,000. However, it was reported at the weekend that the ministry had said it would not fine abusive husbands and that the courts were responsible for handing out sentences for such offenses.

10 women plead for revocation of divorce deeds

Ten women asked courts in the Kingdom this year to revoke their divorce deeds because they discovered loopholes that could allow their divorces to be overturned, Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Monday.

A Justice Ministry source said the women only discovered the discrepancies after the documents had been legally attested and documented.

He said 1,045 women have asked for their divorce deeds to be attested, while the courts last year issued 34,490 divorce deeds.

Abdulaziz al-Zamil, lawyer and legal consultant, said the divorce will not be binding if it happens jokingly, at the husband’s death-bed to deprive the wife from obtaining inheritance, if the husband is suffering a mental disease or if he was forced to do so for whatever reason.

He asked couples who doubt their divorces are legal to go to the nearest court for family affairs or to a general court to revoke their divorce deed.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on April 21, 2014.