Refleksi : It's a Man's World,

LOCAL PRESS - In courts, women bring men by the busloads

Published: Mar 19, 2010 00:06 Updated: Mar 19, 2010 00:09 

"Bring a man to identify you." This is the sentence a judge usually says to any 
woman standing before him.

The identifier is a man who goes to the judge to vouch for the woman standing 
in court.

He will tell the judge who she is and will answer all other questions about her 

A woman lawyer said she used her identity card to identify herself and said 
that she was ready to unveil her face to show the judge that she was the same 
woman in the picture.

She said the judge threw away the card, which was issued by the Interior 
Ministry, because he did not accept female identity cards. In other words, a 
government department does not recognize the work of another government 
department! Is this not a double standard?

However, our issue here is not the double standards, but the identifier who the 
woman has to bring and present before a judge. It is sometimes more than one 

In one case, a woman who brought male witnesses to court was asked by the judge 
to bring additional male identifiers who could vouch for the male witnesses' 
identities. Situations like this make it difficult for the woman, who has to 
bring a busload of men as identifiers and witnesses when an ID card should 

Abdul Ilah Al-Arwan, a judge at the general court in Jeddah, said in a recent 
lecture that women taking up cases at courts had become a reality. He added 
that there were women who had represented men in a number of cases.

He said the judge has the right to ask any woman in front of him to unveil her 
face in order to identify her. "This is not sufur (Islamically incorrect), but 
a prerequisite of identification," he said.

I say, if a judge has the right to ask a woman to uncover her face in order to 
compare it to the picture on her ID, why do we need identifiers? Why does our 
judicial system stick to the prerequisite of identifiers, which delay cases 
where women are involved? Can the officials tell me why some judges do not 
accept IDs issued for women by the Interior Ministry?

We are the only country in the world that makes it a prerequisite for women 
appearing in court to bring busloads of men with them.

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