Saudi rape victim punished, again

The "Girl of Qatif" receives a stricter punishment for trying to "influence the judiciary through the media."

By Tracy Clark-Flory
November 17, 2007 12:50AM (UTC)
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Remember the Girl of Qatif, the 19-year-old who admitted in a Saudi court that prior to being gang-raped by seven men, she had been alone in a car with a man? Remember how as a result, she, the rape victim, was sentenced to 90 lashes? Well, this week, her punishment was more than doubled -- she will receive 200 lashes. She'll also spend six months in jail.

During the Girl of Qatif's rape trial last year, she admitted that she had gotten into a car with a male friend to retrieve a photograph. While they were in the car, two men got in and drove them to a remote location where there were more men waiting. She was raped a total of 14 times; three of the men also attacked her friend. The attackers were sentenced to 10 months to five years in jail, according to the Associated Press; she was sentenced to lashings for being accompanied by an unrelated male -- a violation of sharia law. The Girl from Qatif's lawyer appealed the decision, arguing that the judge was too lenient on the attackers.


Fast-forward to today: It turns out, shocker of shockers, that Saudi Arabian judges frown upon any questioning of the sharia system. While the attackers received stricter sentences -- ranging from two to nine years -- the Girl of Qatif was sentenced to prison time and 110 more lashes. The court attributed the ruling to "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media." Her attorney had his license revoked and will face trial later this month.

The good news is that this week's ruling is getting loads of international coverage, it's stirring debate over sharia law, and it has inspired public outrage (especially among several Broadsheet readers who wrote us in a rage this morning). But it feels like déjà vu -- this is exactly what happened a year ago when we first wrote about this case. The ineffectiveness of global condemnation couldn't be any clearer.

Tracy Clark-Flory

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