Thursday, December 20, 2007

Rape Victim Pardoned

The Lede has a really good column and fascinating discussion of the recent pardon of "the Girl from Qatif." If you haven't been following the story, the 19-year-old woman broke Saudi law by being alone in a car with a man to whom she was not related. Seven men took it upon themselves to punish her, abducting and repeatedly gang-raping her and the man she was with. According to the New York Times, the rapists "received sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison, and 80 to 1,000 lashes." The woman and the man were sentenced to 90 lashes for their original transgression.

When the woman appealed her sentence, the court increased her punishment to 200 lashes and six months in jail and suspended her lawyer's license. After resounding international disapproval, Saudi's King Abdullah pardoned the woman and the man, saying, not that the sentence was wrong, but that the rape was punishment enough for the transgression.
The high profile of this case has focused international attention and opened long-overdue dialog in Middle Eastern countries about the deplorable state of women's rights in Saudi Arabia and some other Muslim theocracies. Though the Girl from Qatif was not sentenced because she was raped, rape victims have been punished severely in the recent past after making allegations. This website has an analysis of rape laws in Pakistan that call for punishing a woman if she can not produce four reliable witnesses to testify that she was in fact raped and not engaging in consensual sex.

1 comment:

Jan Springer said...

It's amazing that this stuff happens.

I'm glad she was pardoned, but it's unbelievable that they said "rape was punishment enough"...UNBELIEVABLE!!
It's almost as if this stuff is fiction.

jan *shaking her head*