Monday, December 17, 2007

Saudi Women Protest Victim's Sentencing, and the Innocent Woman is Freed

Because heroism should be celebrated, I want to mention the good has come from the bravery of the Saudi women who protested when a rape victim was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail for "...being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape." The female victim has been "pardoned" - like Jessica from Feministing, I put the word pardoned in quotes "...because I can't bring myself to repeat rhetoric that frames this woman as somehow guilty of something." It is unclear if the Saudi woman's male companion, who was also raped and was sentenced 90 lashes, has also been released.

While the BBC points out that "The justice ministry recently rejected what it saw as 'foreign interference," it has to be remembered that Saudi women themselves were protesting the sentence, and it took far more courage for them to object than it took any foreigner to condemn.

Hopefully we can be as brave when injustices face us from within our own societies.


Anonymous said...

from salon:

it's worth noting the king's reason for overturning her sentence. The Saudi justice minister, Abdullah bin Muhammed al-Sheikh, told Al Jazirah, "The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair." Her brother, by the way, has already attempted to kill her, and she has made at least one suicide attempt. In the king's eyes, the "Girl of Qatif" deserved every last one of those lashings she was sentenced to but is being spared the punishment because she's suffering to his liking (i.e., she already wants to die).

La Pobre Habladora said...

You are right that the story is heartrending. I did not mean to imply that the whole situation has been magically fixed, but rather to point out how very brave it was for the women who protested to speak out.

that discusses the 'pardoning' as well.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Ugh - crazy Blogger. The first clause of the above sentence should read: "Pandagon has a post..."

Anonymous said...

I agree with you la pobre, its just that I don't see there being a happy ending. That girl, like others in Saudi Arabia, has no life outside of her family. Now she is a liability to her entire family. I am worried she will not survive. Hopefully, with more pressure from international community or when the oil runs out these traditions will change.
So sad.