Saudi king pardons teenage rape victim
1 day ago
RIYADH (AFP) — King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia pardoned a teenage girl sentenced to six months in jail and 200 lashes after being gang raped in a decision swiftly welcomed by Washington on Monday.
Justice Minister Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Ibrahim al-Sheikh hailed the king’s “laudable instructions to grant the pardon”, in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The sentence against the 19-year-old girl had drawn criticism of the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom from key ally President George W. Bush.
The girl, who was 18 at the time she was raped, was attacked at knifepoint by seven men after she was found in a car with a male companion who was not a relative, in breach of strict Saudi law.
The king also pardoned the male companion, the justice minister announced.
The victim’s identity has not been revealed but she has become known as “Qatif girl,” after the Shiite-populated area of Al-Qatif in the Eastern Province from which she comes.
In October 2006, a judge sentenced her to 90 lashes for being with the man — a taboo in the conservative Muslim kingdom which imposes segregation of the sexes.
She appealed against the sentence but despite her ordeal the court ruled that her punishment should be increased to 200 lashes and a six-month jail term.
The judges decided to punish the girl further for “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media,” a court source told the English-language daily Arab News.
The rapists were initially sentenced to one to five years in jail, but those terms were also toughened in November to between two and nine years.
A rape conviction carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, but the court did not impose it due to the “lack of witnesses” and the “absence of confessions,” the justice ministry said last month.
The girl’s husband praised the king for granting the pardon.
“This fatherly care and noble gesture will help (in) lifting the emotional and psychological stress and suffering that our family has been enduring,” the husband was quoted as saying on CNN television’s website.
“This is not something new because we know that the king was always generous in dealing with his people and the entire world,” the husband said. “This week, we have two holidays to celebrate; the Eid and this great news of the pardon.”
King Abdullah’s pardon came on the day that Muslims began the annual hajj pilgrimage as two million faithful set off from Mecca to the valley of Mina in Saudi Arabia. Source.
Good news to be sure. And how wonderful for her that her husband is so supportive.
Saudi king ‘pardons’ rape victim
Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Sheikh, the Saudi justice minister, told Al Jazirah daily that the pardon does not mean the king doubted the country’s judges, but instead acted in the “interests of the people”.
The girl’s sentencing had triggered international outrage.
“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.” Source.
Heavy, heavy sigh. An 18 year old female who has suffered through the violent attack of a gang rape is ALREADY experiencing damaging psychological effects! Two hundred lashes after being raped, fair?!
Not in the civilized world!
But then again we are speaking of Saudi Arabia….