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    Thursday, October 14, 2010


    Samar Al-Badawi, a Divorced Saudi woman currently being held in Brayman jail in Jeddah for "disobeying her father", was the top Saudi twitter trend since early this morning.. According to documents published in a Wordpress blog [in Arabic] by prominent blogger, Fouad Al Farhan, The judge Abdullah Al-Othaim ruled in her abusive drug-addicted father's favor despite the amount of incriminating evidence against him, family members testimonies against him, and letters addressing the issue from Royal Authorities against the judge's verdict..

    The procedure in which this trial was carried out did not adhere to Saudi laws.. The "religious" backing of the judge's choices doesn't even relate to what Islamic law states in such situations.. Fouad Al Farhan kept quiet about the case until enough documents were present to go public with it, blowing the whistle on another case of corruption that is not a first in our legal system.. It's not much of a personal attack on the judge, more than a full fledged questioning of the system that allowed him (and this flawed biased verdict) to happen..

    She's not a victim, she's just a product of an ongoing problem.. (as agreed upon by many tweeters)

    Everything that needs to be said was well-stated by Fouad on his Twitter timeline [in Arabic], and I completely second his stand on this.. And there's no deny, this case should be hyped for the public to hear, and for justice to take place (ironic, i know)..

    Looking back at the Twitter reaction, on the other hand, showed a stigma between two sides:
    • Those who supported the cause, tweeting their blogs and thoughts in support, and retweeted each other for the much needed exposure..
    I have to admit, i felt proud to be part of a trend that flooded my timeline, all in support for Samar's cause to be brought to justice and to have all the loose ends published.. Rarely do I see this unity to take form, and i don't mind seeing it 140 characters at a time.. A call for justice in a hashtag is probably the strongest form of expression that Saudi social networking is currently going through, and it really brought out the passion many of us feel towards cases, not only Samar's, but for the future Samar's that we might witness..
    Mistakes needs to be "fixed".. Yet, in a country where the judges need to be judged, "Who watches the Watchmen?"
    • Those who questioned the cause, and actually complained about how the twitter trend is over hyped, and thus, needs to wait for the judge to make a statement about this..
    I spent most of my day reading the PDF's i managed to download off the Support blog, and I came to a conclusion: The only way where the Judge gets off the hook is by logically convincing the public that his sense of morality and "knack" for justice was abducted by aliens, and some male-centered chauvinistic parasite took over his mind and tempered with his judgement..
    Or to just have a regular media black out on the issue, for the sake of "avoiding fitna (controversy)".. I mean, god knows we don't need any hype in call for basic rights that were unlawfully neglected..
    Many complained on how we should take it easy on the judge, and some even complained about how we should make sure that this story is not being used to attack the legal system in Saudi..

    I have to ask, and I'm not being sarcastic here: You really expect a judge, who seems to be part of an entity that apparently has it's own laws and code of ethics, to step forward and make a statement about what he thinks of the issue?

    Another question: Did you read the documents published? Do you know they're out there?

    [update] Another question in reply to the recent tweets questioning the documents.. Do you have any evidence to prove that? Because relying on our Saudi way of appreciating hear-say won't stand against such documents, sorry to disappoint you..

    A quick summary of what you might've missed:
    • A letter of appeal (from various royal family members and authorities) asking the judge to let the woman live away from her abusive father - Denied!
    • Documented appeals and testimonies by her grandfather and other family members about her father's abusiveness - Denied!
    • A Human rights reports on the little specifics of Samar's case - Ignored!
    • Having Samar held for more than 6 months without an accusation - Ignored!

    I ask you now, As much as you're entitled to easily belittle the intentions of those "Zombie retweets that lack evidence", everyone is entitled to express what they're passionate about.. Try to accept the fact the people feel differently, and are allowed to express differently..

    How is a Hashtag hype helping her? 

    This hype will make an echo, hopefully loud enough for local and international media to pick on.. Thus bringing this case to the spotlights, and makes the issue more public than just a muffled case of lost rights (not that we never saw any of those).. And even more importantly, bringing the flaws of our law system to the attention of the masses (including the authorities) to show the high demand for a thorough revisit.. All in hope of having Samar as a case to be solved, not as a phenomena to be experienced again..

    So, can we hashtag in peace now?

    Spread the Word!

    Free Samar Wordpress Blog
    Free Samar Facebook Page
    Freedom for Samar on CrowdVoice

    In the News! 

    [update: News coverage on Sabq ] -Arabic
    [update: News coverage on FinancialTimes ] -English
    [update: News coverage on Saudi Social News Agency ] -Arabic
    [update: Blogs about Samar by Hatat, Ashraf Al Fageeh, Waseem Azib, Saudi Dream ] -Arabic
    [update: Blogs about Samar by SaudiToTheCore ] -English
    [update: An article in Menbar Al Hewar by Ibrahim Al Bahili ] -Arabic
    [update: An article in SaudiArabian Women Voices ] -Arabic
    [update: A Blog by Hala Al Ghamdi ] -Arabic
    [update: A Blog by Pukka's Blog (don't ask) ] -Arabic
    [update: Follow the trend (and notice the gradual decrease due to the lesser number of retweet battles -thank god-)]
    [update: my personal attempt to better resolve this, open for suggestions :) ]
    [update: An article in Dar Al Hayat by Suzan Al Mash'Hadi ] -Arabic
    [update: A Campaign by Multaqa Al Khutaba : Against Violence on Women  ] -Arabic
    [update: An article by GlobalVoices ] -English
    [update: A Blog by Chez Chiara ] -English
    [update: A Blog by Kholoud Al Fahad ] -Arabic
    [update: An article in the Human Rights Watch ] -English
    [update: An article in MBC's Al Arabiya News ] -Arabic
    [update: An article in Emirates Today ] -Arabic
    [update: An article in Emirati Al Ittihad ]-Arabic

    *Yeah, if you noticed, official local news agencies didn't bring a single mention.. Am sure they're just hibernating for the winter season.. Yeah, pretty sure..

    [update: An article on Muslima Media Watch by Eman Hashim ]


    17/10/2010 : According to tweets (here and here) earlier today by Lawyer Waleed AbulKhair, The matter is supposedly moving towards being resolved.. A letter was sent to the Braiman Jail inquiring about her status, and calls were made to the judge on this case (on which he refused to comment).. It's really refreshing to see the case striking an impact in such a small period, thank you all.. (and the trolls too, without you guys, we wouldn't be trending by now :D )

    17/10/2010 : In a recent tweet by Waleed Abulkhair, the judge "supposedly" made an in-office interrogation with his employees, asking about the "leaked" documents.. (I really wish something official comes out to confirm all this, it's very promising)

    18/10/2010 : Another tweet by Abulkahir.. If it's anything credible, this case is going large.. The Supreme court is opening an investigation..

    20/10/2010 : According to his latest tweet, Lawyer Waleed Abulkhair is set tomorrow for an interview, and he promised to bring mention of this situation..

    Samar is Free!


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