Royal Court, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia

19 November 2007

A Saudi teenage girl has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison after she was the victim of gang rape.

A 19-year-old girl from Qatif, who was reportedly gang raped 14 times a year-and-a-half ago, has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail. She was charged for being in the car of an unrelated man, shortly after which they both were reportedly abducted by a group of seven men and were gang raped.

All of the perpetrators were sentenced to between two and nine years in prison with lashes. The girl and the man she was meeting were initially sentenced to 90 lashes each by the Qatif General Court, however, the sentence of the girl was increased after she appealed against her sentence but lost the hearing in the Higher Court of Justice. According to a quote by an official in Arab News, the judges increased her sentence because she had used the influence of the media to put pressure on the judiciary. The sentence of the rapists was also doubled.

The victim’s lawyer, Abdel Rahman Al-Lahem, stated, “My client is the victim of this abhorrent crime. I believe her sentence contravenes the Islamic Sharia law and violates the pertinent international conventions.” Mr Al-Lahem also faced disciplinary action after he spoke to the media about the original sentence. His license to practice law was recently revoked by the Qatif General Court. According to Arab News, his license was suspended because the court alleges that he raised his voice at the judge, which the lawyer denies. He was not allowed to be present in the second hearing of the case, when the victim was handed down the harsher sentence.

The victim’s legal guardian, her husband, is scheduled to receive a copy of the verdict on Saturday, 24 November 2007 from the Qatif General Court, after which the defendant will have 30 days to file an appeal with the Court of Cassation. She has decided to appeal against the verdict but faces an increase in the sentence if her appeal is rejected.

We, the undersigned, request the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to revoke the harsh sentence handed down to the rape victim.

We believe such a sentence is not justified, nor is it in accordance with Islamic law.

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The Revoke Harsh Sentence imposed on Saudi Rape Victim petition to Royal Court, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was written by Samira Mohd Afzal and is in the category Justice at GoPetition.