Saudi Justice Ministry Defends Punishment of Rape Victim

The Saudi government tried to defend its decision to increase a rape victim’s punishment for being alone with a man not her relative from 90 lashes to 200 lashes and 6 months in prison. Once again, the House of Saud proves that its country is not a safe place for women:

The Saudi Justice Ministry Tuesday issued a “clarification” of a court’s handling of a rape case and the increased punishment — including 200 lashes –meted out to the victim.

The case, which has sparked media scrutiny of the Saudi legal system, centers on a married woman. The 19-year-old, and an unrelated man, were abducted, and she raped, by a group of seven men more than a year ago, according to Abdulrahman al-Lahim, the attorney who represented her in court.

The woman was originally sentenced in October 2006 to 90 lashes. But that sentence was more than doubled to 200 lashes and six months in prison by the Qatif General Court, because, a court source told Middle Eastern daily newspaper Arab News, she spoke to the media about the case.

Al-Lahim told CNN his law license was revoked last week by a judge because he spoke to the Saudi-controlled media about the case. Video Watch the emotional toll the crime took on the rape

The Justice Ministry acknowledged in its statement Tuesday that the attorney is no longer on the case, saying he was punished by a disciplinary committee for lawyers because he “exhibited disrespectful behavior toward the court, objected to the rule of law and showed ignorance concerning court instructions and regulations.”

It added that the permanent committee of the Supreme Judicial Council recommended an increased sentence for the woman after further evidence against her came to light when she appealed her original sentence.

The judges of that committee also increased the sentences for the perpetrators based on the level of their involvement in the crime. Their sentences — which had been two to three years in prison — were increased to two to nine years, according to al-Lahim.

The ministry also said it welcomes constructive criticism and insisted that the parties’ rights were preserved in the judicial process.

The parties’ rights were preserved? The rape victim’s rights were not preserved; they were stomped and spit upon. It will be a miracle in itself if this poor woman survives to serve her 6 months in prison after all 200 lashes are carried out. That’s probably what this sentence is designed to do: kill her.

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