Saudi judge demands withdrawing the nationality of a female journalist

Saudi journalist Nadine Albodair

Following her description of the religious police as “ex-convicts and drug addicts”, Saudi judge demands withdrawing the nationality of a female journalist, and a Saudi male journalist responds by publishing an article about her, using explicit sexual
harassment terms

Iqbal Tamimi

Saudi journalist, Nadine Albodair, is facing again a wave of harsh criticism,
that even a Saudi judge demanded withdrawing her Saudi nationality, on grounds that she
has offended the Saudi people and the Saudi Commission for the Promotion of
Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

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This reaction came after an interview of Albodair  by Egyptian journalist Wael AlAbrashy during Alhaqeeqah
show ‘truth’ , that was broadcasted on two episodes, during which she described
the members of the religious police in Saudi Arabia as a ‘gang’, and ‘’ex-convicts
and drug addicts’.

Few days after her
statement, Albodair was attacked in the most vicious and indecent manner on
different Saudi websites an on line forums, but the most shocking response came as a short abusive
article written by a Saudi male journalist who published his article at the Saudi newspaper

In his published
article he talked in a sarcastic tone about her beautiful legs,  undermining her journalistic professionalism,
hinting that her sexual appeal attracts audience to watch her show. He wrote
‘her legs will guarantee that people will follow-up and run fast to watch her
television show,  because the Arab viewer
is not less enthusiastic than the Saudi one who is eager to see any
product of a ‘Saudi women’ exposed to open air not wearing ‘tights’ or ‘Stretch
pants’. The journalist wrote in his article, sarcastically, hinting at her
sexual appeal: ‘I do not know for sure why whenever I see Nadine Albodair she
revives my youth and I feel like a young man again’.

The attack on Albodair, is mainly because she left Saudi
Arabia, though she works for a Saudi Channel outside Saudi Arabia and appears
on television, unveiled wearing dresses that show her legs.

The attack against her was not limited to abusive articles
and comments. The Saudi judge,  Metrif
Albisher, demanded that she should be stripped of her Saudi nationality. His
demands were published on Saudi ‘Sabaq’ news website, where he accused her of ‘repeatedly
offending the Saudi nation and Saudi state establishments, and going too far
without considering the limits of manners and good behaviour.’

The judge explained that she should be dealt with ‘so that
fools will not follow suit or dare to insult Saudi State’s establishments or its judiciary
system or its judges’. He also added referring to her ‘The fools must be punished because there
are some people who are not deterred by preaching, counselling and advice. She
must be persecuted because she went too far and insulted the state departments.
For that reason she must be punished according to state proceedings of Saudi

The judge said,’ the worst thing is the fact that she works
for a Saudi television Channel, and she has her own show on that channel, that
is Rotana, and this indicates unlimited contradiction. She must be expelled
from the channel. ‘he demanded.

The judge who attacked Abudair, demanding her dismissal from her job, did not dare say a word about her employer, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal who happens to be the nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. An entrepreneur and international investor whose personal wealth is estimated to be US$19.6 billion by Forbes, making him the 26th richest person in the world and richest Saudi Arabian.

Regarding the procedures, the Saudi judge proposed ‘the Commission for
the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, has its own lawyers and lawmakers,
led by the guardian, they should complain to the competent authorities in Saudi
Arabia, after listing her breaches, and documenting the evidence, she should be
held accountable, and be brought from abroad to Saudi Arabia through Interpol to
stand trial’

The Saudi judge explained ‘she is still subjected to the rules
and procedure of the Saudi state as long as she carries the Saudi citizenship,
and benefits from the services provided to her by the state  through her
nationality’. He argued ‘her criticism of the religious police is
either motivated by seeking fame and attention or she is being dictated by a foreign party’.

On her part, Iqbal Tamimi, Director of Arab Women Media
watch Centre in UK, commented on an article of news published by London based
Alquds Alarabi newspaper on the subject, demanding an apology for Abodair from Saudi
newspaper Asharq, explaining that what has been published on its pages by a
male colleague against  Albodair, does not reflect the journalists
codes of ethics or the manners of Saudis who would never
tarnish the reputation of others in this despicable manner. She said that ‘his comments
about Albodair’s legs are shameful for him and for other Saudi journalists, and
regarding his sarcastic question ‘I do not know for
sure why whenever I see Nadine Albodair she revives my youth and I feel like a
young man again’
 Tamimi said ‘such question is a
proof of immaturity, recklessness and lack of responsibility in estimating the consequences and harm
he has done to his female colleague. His words lack modesty and considered an explicit sexual
harassment. We are awaiting and looking forward to hearing the reaction of the
Saudi journalists Committee.

It is worth mentioning that there is no journalists trade union yet in Saudi Arabia that can protect the rights of journalists.




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