Wahhabi syariah law system in action!
Rape victim fights Saudi syariah 200-lashing verdict
From the National Post of Canada.
Lashing Saudi rape victim an outrage: Clinton
Democrat asks U.S. President to intervene
Araminta Wordsworth, National Post, With Files From News Services
Published: Thursday, November 22, 2007
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, yesterday called on George W. Bush, the U.S. President, to express disapproval at the sentence of 200 lashes and six months in prison meted out to a Saudi rape victim.
"This is an outrage," she said in a statement, condemning the Bush administration for declining to call for a reversal of the sentence on the grounds it was an internal matter for its Saudi ally.
"I urge President Bush to call on King Abdullah to cancel the ruling and drop all charges against this woman. As president, I will once again make human rights an American priority around the world."
Canada has said it would lodge a complaint and called the sentence barbaric, while human rights activists and politicians around the world have condemned the sentence.
The unidentified woman was raped by seven men in Qatif, eastern Saudi Arabia, last year and originally sentenced to 90 lashes.
But the three-judge panel said her punishment for being in the car of a man who was not a relative was increased because of "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."
They also dismissed her lawyer, Abdulrahman al-Lahim, a human rights activist.
Speaking on CNN, the husband of the 19-year-old -- known only as "the Qatif girl" -- said one of the three judges "was mean and from the beginning dealt with my wife as a guilty person who had done something wrong."
"Even when he pronounced the sentence, he said to her, 'You were involved in a suspicious relationship and you deserve 200 lashes for that'.
"The court proceedings were like a spectacle at times," added the 24-year-old man, who married his fiancee after the rapes.
"The criminals were allowed in the same room as my wife. They were allowed to make all kinds of offensive gestures and give her dirty and threatening looks."
The incident happened after the woman, then 18, went to a mall in Qatif to retrieve a photograph of herself. Mr. Lahim said it didn't show her in an incriminating pose and according to phone records, the man who had it was trying to blackmail her.
After she climbed into his car, the vehicle was hijacked by two other men who drove it to a secluded spot, where she was raped and beaten by seven men.
Under the strict form of shariah practised in Saudi Arabia, women are forbidden to be alone in the company of an unrelated man.
A Justice Ministry statement said 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 rapists also had their sentences increased to two to seven years in jail for the crime, which can attract the death penalty.
Mr. Lahim said the handling of the case is a direct contradiction of judicial reforms announced by the Saudi King this month.
"The Ministry of Justice needs to have a very clear standing regarding this case because I consider this decision to be judiciary mutiny against the reform that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz started and against Saudi women who are being victimized because of such decisions," he said.
The Saudi government has recently moved to better the situation of women, including setting up special courts to handle domestic abuse cases, a new labour law that addresses working women's rights and creation of a human rights commission.
But the King's ability to press through reform is limited by his need to placate the kingdom's conservative clerics and religious police, and other members of the Saudi royal family.
Meanwhile, the husband feels as if his wife has been raped again, this time in public. "You could say she's a crushed human being."