Saudi court stands by sentence of rape victim

Clinton, Obama demand less lame response by U.S.

By Lynn Harris
November 21, 2007 11:04PM (UTC)
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Sorry, no pie for you yet: here are some thoroughly depressing/unsurprising developments, such as they are, in the case of the Girl of Qatif, the Saudi gang-rape victim who was sentenced to 90 200 lashes and six months in jail for having been "accompanied" by an unrelated male.

The latest, mainly, is that the Saudi court has announced that it is officially standing by its verdict, even in spite of "international outcry" against it.


Where the U.S. government is concerned, however, the response has been more of an out-whimper. "This is a part of a judicial procedure overseas in the court of a sovereign country. Oh look, a sandwich," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told Reuters. "That said, most would find this relatively astonishing that something like this happens."

Meanwhile, CNN reports today that Sen. Hillary Clinton, labeling the sentence an "outrage," has called on President Bush to prevail upon BFF King Abdullah to drop all charges. CNN does not mention that Sen. Barack Obama (according to Reuters) may have beaten her to the punch, having on Monday urged Condoleezza Rice -- herself busy trying to get Saudi Arabia to attend a Middle East peace conference -- to condemn the sentencing. Obama has also asked the State Department to include the "demeaning ruling" in its annual report of international human rights violations, which is currently being compiled.

Such demands are appropriate and welcome. But will the government heed them? You might say that most would find this relatively unlikely that something like this would happen.

Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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