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Saudi women get jail terms for trying to help Canadian

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A Saudi court handed two Saudi women 10-month jail sentences on Saturday for seeking to help a Canadian woman who wanted to leave her Saudi husband with their children, human rights activists said.

The court also banned Fawzia al-Ayuni and Wajiha al-Huaider from leaving the kingdom for two years, rights activist Aql al-Bahli said.

They have a month to appeal against the judgment.

The two women were convicted of the Islamic sharia law offence of takhbib, or incitement of a wife to defy the authority of her husband, Bahli said.

They had been briefly detained by police a year and a half ago in the company of the Canadian woman who at the time wanted to flee the kingdom with her children after a row with her husband, he added.

Regional rights group the Gulf Forum for Civil Societies expressed "deep concern" over the jail sentences handed down against two women, who had "defended a humanitarian right".

It urged the Canadian government to intervene with the Saudi authorities on the women's behalf.

In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, women are dependent on their male guardians in most aspects of their lives.

Women need a close male relative to accompany them if they enter government buildings and courts.

Saudi women are also banned from driving and are obliged to cover themselves from head to toe in public.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130615/saudi-women-get-jail-terms-trying-help-canadian