King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has issued a royal pardon for a rape victim sentenced to 200 lashes. This is progress for the kingdom but it is unlikely to reduce the utter shock of the world at the treatment of this woman.
The Saudi woman who was first gang raped and then sentenced to 200 lashes (for being with a male non-family member) has given a full account of her ordeal. The woman’s story is an insight into the plight of woman in a country where they are restricted in their travel and subject to the harshest possible punishments.The woman stated that she was being hounded by a man, who she knew largely over the telephone. Notably, the man was able to use the strict Saudi rules to coerce her into giving him a picture – threatening to tell her family and husband of their conversations.
When she tried to get the picture back, they were kidnapped and she was brutally beaten and gang raped.The rapists then spread the story of the gang rape throughout her neighborhood. She had kept the attack secret. Once again, it is shocking to see a society where rapists can only speak of their crime — which is viewed as less serious than the fact that they caught a woman in a car with a non-family male.
After her family heard of the boasting of the gang rape, her brother’s reaction was to beat her and try to kill her.
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6 thoughts on “Rape Victim Receives Royal Saudi Pardon”
Good question. I will look into it.
I’ve seen several stories that mention in passing that up to three of the attackers also raped the man and that the man received the same judicial punishment as the woman for unauthorized contact. See, e.g., 12/18/07 Washington Post story by Faiza Saleh Ambah.
What I haven’t seen is:
1) Any expression of equal concern about the rape of the man.
2) Any indication of equal concern about reports that he received the same judicial penalty as the woman for unauthorized contact.
3) Whether he was pardoned along with her.
Do you know?
Very important fact. Thanks John.
While this case does put the difference in legal systems into high relief, it’s also useful to note (as few do) that the Saudis are now undertaking a top-to-bottom reform of their legal system. See The Economist on Saudi Judicial Reform.
What is incredible is that this is probably viewed as a major gesture of mercy in the Kingdom. It is cases like this one that remind us of the remaining legal and cultural divide with some of our allies.
Think about that headline for a moment. The VICTIM was PARDONED. This from the Bush Crime family’s great benefactor/ally and stallwart bastion of democracy in the Middle East.
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