The decision of a Bahrain Special Security court to uphold harsh sentences—including eight life sentences—for 21 Bahraini human rights and civil society activists, as well as its continued efforts to punish dissent, illustrates a pattern of repression that belies any promises of meaningful reform by the government, according to Freedom House.
A Saudi woman found guilty of defying a driving ban in July 2011 will face a brutal punishment of 10 lashings. She did not want to be identified publicly to protect her safety and said will appeal the sentence, according to the Women2Drive campaign. A number of other women have been arrested for similar reasons, including Madihah Al-Agroosh on September 27, and Najla al-Hariri on September 25—the same day King Abdullah announced that women will be given voting rights. Hariri will face trial after being questioned for her role in instigating driving campaigns.