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Rape and Sexual Assault

Saudi “Justice Ministry” Says “Resorting to the Media” Could Cause More Harm to Raped Woman Sentenced to 200 Lashes– UDATE, Rape Victim “Pardoned”

 UPDATE:  Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has pardoned a female rape victim who had been sentenced to 200 lashes for being alone with a man at the time of the attack who was not related to her, a Saudi newspaper reported Monday.The case had sparked international outcry. In a rare criticism of its Mideast ally, the White House had expressed its ”astonishment” over the woman’s sentence. Canada called it barbaric.Saudi Justice Minister Abdullah bin Muhammed al-Sheik told al-Jazirah newspaper that the pardon does not mean the king doubted the country’s judges, but instead acted in the ”interests of the people.””The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair,” al-Jazirah quoted al-Sheik as saying.

The victim in the case, known only as the ”Girl of Qatif” after her hometown in eastern Saudi Arabia, was in a car with a high school friend in 2006 when they were attacked and raped by seven men.

Link and thanks to Mary Sunshine for the heads up!

Profacero alerted me, I think in one of the Delaram Ali comment threads, to the case of the 19-year-old Saudi gang rape victim sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison.  Her crime?  Being out after dark in a car without a male family member, more specifically, being out after dark in a car with the man with whom she was having an “extramarital affair.”  Seven men came upon the couple and raped the woman.

When the case was  heard the woman was sentenced to 90 lashes for being alone with her boyfriend, and the rapists were sentenced to five years in prison.  Last week her sentence was increased to 200 lashes and six months in jail and the rapists were resentenced to from two to nine years.

Responding to media outrage and international criticism, the Saudi “Justice” (read:  justice for just us men) Ministry said:

“The woman in the case is married and has confessed to establishing a relationship in violation of sharia law…We reiterate that judicial rulings in this virtuous country … are based on God’s book and the traditions of his Prophet and that no ruling is issued without being based on evidence.”

The “Justice Ministry” also is reported to have said “resorting to the media” could have “a negative effect on the other parties in the case.” 

The woman’s attorney has appealed but has also been hauled before a disciplinary panel. 

Increasingly media, bloggers included — maybe especially — are being warned not to publicize this kind of outrage, told if we do, we may make things more difficult for women being victimized.  Not long ago I took down all of my posts relating to the case of a woman in a Middle Eastern country similar to Saudi Arabia whose abusive ex-husband had engineered a situation in which, even though she had legal custody of their children through the country’s highest court (unheard of prior to her case), she was due to be deported without them, meaning she would never see them again in all likelihood.  I was told reporting the unfolding of events might hurt her, her children and her case. 

What incredible behavior, to threaten the press in this manner, and particularly given the egregiousness of this sentence.  The woman and her attorney have been told if she loses her appeal, she might receive an even harsher sentence.

Dr. Violet Socks has a good post up about this and similar atrocities.

Link and thanks to the Global Sisterhood Network.

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8 thoughts on “Saudi “Justice Ministry” Says “Resorting to the Media” Could Cause More Harm to Raped Woman Sentenced to 200 Lashes– UDATE, Rape Victim “Pardoned”

  1. Wow what kind of justice system is that? How can you threaten someone with a worse punishment if they try to appeal?

    Posted by Kiuku | November 27, 2007, 1:05 am
  2. I wonder why the news and official accounts differ so much from her own story. According to this story from ABC News, which claims to have exclusive testimony of her story, the man with whom she was found was blackmailing her. They had been talking on the phone, which in Saudi Arabia apparently counts as a relationship. Her story is confusing, but made me wonder if that man was actually in cahoots with the rapists.

    Posted by Aletha | November 27, 2007, 4:29 am
  3. I think I messed up the link. The ABC story I found is at

    Posted by Aletha | November 27, 2007, 4:32 am
  4. Wouldn’t surprise me. Thanks Aletha

    Posted by Kiuku | November 27, 2007, 3:01 pm
  5. Sounds to me as though the Saudi Justice Ministry are frightened of the media and international condemnation. Hence their attempt at coercing bloggers and the media to cease reporting on yet another instance of men’s violence against women. This is a blatant case of blackmail – if you report this case the woman will suffer further and if you don’t the woman will still be ‘punished’ for transgressing men’s laws. Irrespective of whether or not the woman was involved in an extra marital relationship seven men decided they would group rape her. This is the real crime not whether or not the woman had an extra marital relationship and that is why attempts are being made to divert attention away from the male rapists.

    Posted by jennifer drew | November 27, 2007, 3:07 pm
  6. So this increasingly more harshly-punished rape victim is, instead of a someone, just a something to be used to try to dominate those of us outside that country who express our outrage at her sentencing.

    That Classic strategy – to try to turn other peoples’ empathy against them: ‘Submit (In this case, STFU) or she suffers’.

    Utterly Classic.

    But, you know…many of us observers *are* moral realists. The most that kind of trick does is to gain the dominators a little time. Just a *little* bit more time.

    Posted by Bex | November 27, 2007, 4:35 pm
  7. Yeah, Bex, it’s like taking a hostage. “If you [do whatever], she gets it.” And of course, if you then do what you need to do, it becomes your fault that the hostage was harmed.

    It’s classic abuse.


    Posted by womensspace | November 27, 2007, 4:40 pm
  8. I don’t know whta to say, this is just really awful. It does make me feel helpless.

    on a side note, I doubt the man is in cahouts:

    Posted by nakedthoughts | November 27, 2007, 9:42 pm

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