(Its a Mad Mad World)
JEDDAH: A Saudi woman who had fallen victim to a violent gang-rape has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail after being found guilty of speaking to the media about the crime and indecency.
The Shia woman, 19 years old back in 2006, was in the car of a student friend when two men got into the vehicle and drove them to a secluded area, where she was raped by seven men, the Middle East Monitor reported on Friday.
She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man, because the Saudi law dictates that a male family member must accompany a woman at all times in public.
The rapists were, surprisingly, sentenced to prison terms up to five years, which were regarded light considering the fact that they could have faced the death penalty.
The womans lawyer, Abdul Rahman al-Lahem, appealed to the Saudi General Court after the sentences were handed down. The court, however, more than doubled her sentence because the victim had spoken to the media.
For whoever has an objection on verdicts issued, the system allows to appeal without resorting to the media, Saudi officials said in a statement published on the official Saudi Press Agency.
The lawyer was also banned from the case, his license was confiscated, and was summoned to a disciplinary hearing scheduled for later this month.
The verdict has been criticized by human rights organizations around the globe.
The Human Rights Watch noted that the ruling not only sends victims of sexual violence the message that they should not press charges, but in effect offers protection and impunity to the perpetrators.
International human rights organizations have repeatedly lashed out at Saudi Arabia for failing to address the rights situation in the kingdom.
They say Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.