Disgusting situation in Saudi Arabia

2007-11-15

in Daily updates, Law, Politics, Rants

In case anyone needs to be reminded about the awfulness of some world governments, here is a story about a rape victim in Saudi Arabia being sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail for being in the car of a non-family member. The seven rapists received sentences ranging from one to five years.

This is the kind of thing that should produce serious and public condemnation from governments that are actually serious about human rights and the rule of law. The combination of theocracy, patriarchy, and vindictiveness that created and enforces these laws has no place in any legitimate society.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan November 15, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Saudi lawyer reports harassment after defending rape victim

RIYADH (AFP) — A Saudi lawyer and human rights activist said on Wednesday that a court in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom withdrew his licence after he objected to a ruling which penalised a female rape victim.

Litty November 15, 2007 at 5:51 pm

We overthrow the Taliban while funding and protecting their ideological cousins. What a sick world.

. November 15, 2007 at 7:48 pm

Report: court hands jail term, doubles lashes for woman victim of gang rape

“A Saudi court sentenced a 19-year-old woman victim of gang rape to six months in jail and 200 lashes — more than double than in her initial sentence for being in the car of a man who was not her relative, a newspaper reported Thursday.”

Qatif Court Convicts Rape Victim

“JEDDAH, 15 November 2007 — The General Court in Qatif yesterday doubled the number of lashes for a rape victim as well as jail terms for her assaulters. In its verdict, the court also suspended the victim’s lawyer from defending her.

The case was referred back to the General Court by the Appeals Court judges last summer after Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, the victim’s lawyer, successfully contested against the initial verdict saying it too lenient for the rapists and unjust for the victim.

A year-and-a-half ago in the Eastern Province town of Qatif, a 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 sentences for the seven rapists ranged from 10 months to five years in prison.”

Islamic Law For Women

“For pressing her case by daring to complain about her punishment, the court saw fit to sentence the rape victim to an extra 110 lashes. Justice, Islam-style, gotta despise it.”

Saudi court to gang-rape victim: How does 200 lashes sound?

“She’d originally been sentenced to 90 lashes for the crime of being in a car with a man to whom she wasn’t related prior to being attacked and gang-raped 14 times by a group of seven. Why the new sentence on appeal?

For complaining, that’s why.”

Saudi punishes gang rape victim with 200 lashes

“RIYADH (AFP) — A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The 19-year-old woman — whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms — was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for “being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape,” the Arab News reported.”

tristan November 15, 2007 at 9:10 pm

How can you take any officer of the law seriously if they represent a state which does business with this country?

Tom November 15, 2007 at 10:12 pm

How can you take any officer of the law seriously if they represent a state which does business with this country?

Every state that buys oil “does business” with Saudi Arabia.

That has nothing to do with respecting or not respecting officers of the law in those states. Respect for such officials derives from the degree of oversight society has over them, as well as the degree to which they provide demonstrable benefits to citizens.

Tom November 15, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Growing Up Sexually: A world atlas and encyclopedia of cross-cultural practices in the sexual enculturation of children. The project overview gives context for the site, which is a subproject of the frighteningly comprehensive International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. Primary author of site is an M.D. No images, text may not be safe for work.

Tom November 15, 2007 at 10:16 pm

That is from Metafilter, of course.

tristan November 15, 2007 at 11:16 pm

“That has nothing to do with respecting or not respecting officers of the law in those states. Respect for such officials derives from the degree of oversight society has over them, as well as the degree to which they provide demonstrable benefits to citizens.”

No. Officers of the law recieve their authority from the state. The degree of respect they can be alloted follows from the degree to which a state is rational, i.e. allows for the free living of its citizens. “Benefits” are an unacceptable utilitarian justification which can be used to justify horrors for the sake of avoiding other greater horrors.

Saudi Arabia is demonstrating itself not to be a legitimate state. Thus, other states that act as if it were legitimate are foolishly and in bad faith.

Milan November 15, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Tristan,

Respect for the sovereignty of other states is a critical principle in diplomacy and international law. Not least, this is due to a healthy skepticism about imperialism.

Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter asserts:

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Punishments of criminal acts within a state’s territory would normally be considered to fall under that definition.

When we add a cosmopolitan conception of human worth and the possibility of the validity of ideas like human rights, it becomes very difficult to conduct diplomacy with infinite deference to local rules.

That said, none of this has anything to do with respect for local police. Your average RCMP constable knows little about international law, Saudi Arabia, or the dealings of the Canadian government with Saudi Arabia.

Morally, Saudi Arabia is completely irrelevant to the interactions between Canadians and Canadian police officers.

. November 16, 2007 at 12:20 am
Emily Horn November 16, 2007 at 5:10 am

This is an insult against the female sex especially, but I consider it as an insult to every self-respecting and socially conscious individual in the world.

Suffice to say the whole thing leaves me with a pit in the bottom of my stomach. It is a painful reminder that the role of feminism in the world has not become less important over time.

With the rise of fundamental religious misogyny, it perhaps has never been so important.

Anon @ Wadh November 16, 2007 at 9:41 am

Arrange a protest outside the Saudi embassy.

You are in a capital city, after all.

Anon November 16, 2007 at 10:10 am

“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.”

Joseph Conrad

. November 16, 2007 at 11:09 am

Saudi gang rape sentence ‘unjust’

A lawyer for a gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia who was sentenced to 200 lashes and six-months in jail says the punishment contravenes Islamic law.

The woman was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes – she was in an unrelated man’s car at the time of the attack.

When she appealed, judges doubled her sentence, saying she had been trying to use the media to influence them.

Anon November 16, 2007 at 11:26 am

Tristan,

Going from “the Saudi judiciary is unjust” to “you should not respect Canadian police officers” makes about as much sense as going from “this woman was brutally raped” to “she should be lashed and imprisoned.”

Kerrie November 16, 2007 at 2:07 pm

“This is an insult against the female sex especially, but I consider it as an insult to every self-respecting and socially conscious individual in the world.

Suffice to say the whole thing leaves me with a pit in the bottom of my stomach. It is a painful reminder that the role of feminism in the world has not become less important over time.”

Hell yes! Just, HELL YES, Emily Horn!

Tristan November 16, 2007 at 6:25 pm

It disturbs me to the extent that people see no relation between the legitimacy of a state and the police.

If a state recognizes an illegitimate state as legitimate, its legitimacy is put into question.

If a states legitimacy is put into question, its right to enforce its law by coercive force is put into question.

Milan November 16, 2007 at 6:32 pm

Arrange a protest outside the Saudi embassy.

You are in a capital city, after all.

I am told the Saudi embassy in Ottawa is actually empty. For some reason, they were not allowed to move in.

Still, I would be interested in knowing if there are any reasonable actions that can be taken in protest of this court decision.

Milan November 16, 2007 at 6:34 pm

Tristan,

Saudi Arabia is not an illegitimate state. It has all the trappings of formal legal sovereignty. That is generally the basis on which states recognize one another: having defined territory, a permanent population, the ability to pass and enforce laws, etc.

I said it was an illegitimate society, which is a moral judgment rather than a legal or political one.

Milan November 16, 2007 at 6:35 pm

And I agree that blaming Canadian police officers for Canadian foreign policy is a bizarre and deluded stance.

Bertrand November 20, 2007 at 4:22 am

Of course Saudi Arabia is an illegitimate state. Morally, Ethically, and Legally. It’s rather self-explanatory why the state of Saudi Arabia is morally and ethically illegitimate. As for it being legally illegitimate, it’s equally self-explanatory and obvious if one knows what actual legality and rule of law requires. In a true law and order society, there are no one above the law, and laws are passed by a legislature that is elected by the people. In an illegitimate state like Saudi Arabia, there is no true law and order, because the mullahs and the royal family are above the law, therefore there is no actual rule of law, but rather rule of brute force, and the rule of the jungle. So, the state is legally illegitimate, because its power isn’t really derived from law, but rather from violence and the threat of violence.

So, a vile, reactionary, and illegitimate state like the one in Saudi Arabia deserves no respect and no recognition by other civilized democracies in the world. The fact that it is recognized is purely due to harsh necessities that have to do with world energy needs.

Anon November 21, 2007 at 2:43 pm

Saudis back rape victim sentence

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have defended a judicial sentence of 200 lashes for a rape victim.

The justice ministry said in a statement that the sentence was justified because the woman was in a car with an unrelated man.

The case has aroused controversy at home and condemnation abroad.

US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said the sentence was an outrage and urged President Bush to put pressure on Saudi King Abdullah.

The 19-year-old, who has not been named, was travelling in a car with a male friend last year, when the car was attacked by a gang of seven men who raped both of them.

Litty November 22, 2007 at 9:40 am

Saudi rape case condemned

In Middle East

Democrat presidential candidates in the US criticise a Saudi ruling increasing the punishment of a rape victim.

. December 17, 2007 at 10:13 am

Saudi king ‘pardons rape victim’

In Middle East

Saudi King Abdullah pardons a rape victim sentenced to jail and 200 lashes for being alone with a man, reports say

“The Saudi king has pardoned a female rape victim sentenced to jail and 200 lashes for being alone with a man raped in the same attack, reports say.

The “Qatif girl” case caused an international outcry with widespread criticism of the Saudi justice system.

The male and female victims were in a car together when they were abducted and raped by seven attackers, who were given jail sentences up to nine years.

Press reports say King Abdullah’s move did not mean the sentence was wrong.

Quoted by the Jazirah newspaper, Justice Minister Abdullah al-Sheikh said the king had the right to issue pardons if it served the public interest. “

. February 14, 2008 at 11:46 am

Pleas for condemned Saudi ‘witch’

In Middle East

A rights group urges Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a woman convicted of witchcraft.

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