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`It's ok for men to beat wives`




Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: A Saudi judge told in a conference on domestic violence that a man has the right to slap his wife if she spends lavishly on such things as clothing, a Saudi newspaper reported, drawing criticism from rights activists in the conservative kingdom.

The remarks by the judge do not carry the weight of law, as they were made out of court. But such public pronouncements by Saudi judges who are also Islamic clerics are often widely respected.

Those campaigning for women's rights in Saudi Arabia said the comments were another setback in efforts to gain the right to vote, drive and freely participate in politics.

"If a person gives 1,200 Saudi riyals ($320) to his wife and she spends 900 riyals ($240) to purchase an abaya (head-to-toe robe) from a brand shop and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment," Judge Hamad Al-Razine was quoted as saying by the English-language Arab News newspaper on Sunday.

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