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Wed 27 Jan 2016 12:03 PM

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Saudi authorities probe death threats against female councillors

News comes as it was reported last month Saudi female council members were warned against interacting with their male colleagues

Saudi authorities probe death threats against female councillors
Image for illustrative purpose only. (Getty Images)

Saudi female councillors have reportedly received death threats after they insisted on attending council meeting with their male counterparts.

Arab News reported that Lama Al-Suleiman and Rasha Hefzi, two female members of Jeddah municipal council received the death threats on their mobile phones.

“The women members have every right to attend meetings as equals with the men,” the report said, quoting an unknown source.

The report said the kingdom’s security agencies were investigating the threats.

The news comes as it was reported last month Saudi female council members were warned against interacting with their male colleagues.

Despite the kingdom allowing women to vote and stand as elected representatives in municipal elections last year, the director-general of Municipal Council Affairs, Judai Al Qahtani, issued a statement in December warning that this does not mean women are allowed to have face-to-face interactions with male counterparts.

“We are making a lot of new adjustments with the participation of women in the council. However, we will not compromise the religious boundaries,” he was quoted as saying by the Saudi Gazette newspaper.

“Female members have equal rights as male members of the council but they will not have mixed meetings.”

According to Al Qahtani, women councillors should have separate meetings and offices from men.

Citing Arabic daily Al Hayat, the newspaper said the total number of women winning the municipal council seats reached 21 after a final vote count. A total of 702,542 voters — 130,000 of whom were women — took part in the voting.

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