Monday, December 17, 2007

King Abdullah Pardons Qatif Girl

From Arab News

King Abdullah Pardons Qatif Girl

Ebtihal Mubarak, Arab News

JEDDAH, 17 December 2007 – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has pardoned the 20-year-old Saudi rape victim known as Qatif girl after a court sentenced her to 200 lashes and six months in prison, according to Justice Minister Abdullah Al-Asheikh.

An informed source told Arab News that the charges against the rape victim and lawyer Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem filed by a state prosecutor are dropped, adding that the lawyer will receive his confiscated law license after Haj holidays.

A year-and-a-half ago in the Eastern Province town of Qatif, seven men gang-raped a 19-year-old girl 14 times. Three judges from the Qatif General Court sentenced the rape victim to 90 lashes for being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape.

The woman was charged with being in the company of an unrelated man shortly before she and her companion were kidnapped at knife-point and brutally gang-raped by the seven men.

According to her husband and her lawyer, the rape victim had met the male friend to receive some photos of her that he had from a relationship with her when she was 16. She contends that the man had initially threatened to distribute the pictures to shame her.

On November 14, the general court in Qatif with recommendation from the Higher Court of Justice doubled the number of lashes for the rape victim as well as jail terms for her assaulters. The court also suspended the victim's lawyer Al-Lahem from defending her and confiscated his license.

Al-Lahem told Arab News earlier that the second verdict was based on the argument that it was the girl's fault in the first place that (the rape) happened and none of that would have happened if she had not met with the non-related male friend.

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