Tuesday, November 20, 2007

200 Lashes and 6 Months in Jail

Imagine you are a 19 year old woman and you sneak away from home. You sneak away because you are not allowed to go out by yourself. Then you are attacked and raped by seven men. Again, again, brutally, you are violated and you know that the worst is yet to come.

A 19 year old young woman in Saudi Arabia had just this happen to her. She was held responsible for her own rape--because she was out without permission from a male relative-- and was sentenced to 90 lashes. Oh yes, the rapists also got sentenced. Like they were all willing participants in a one-sided act of brutality.

Then she spoke to the media and the number of lashes were increased to 200 and she also got 6 months in jail.When the young woman's lawyer appealed the judicial decision he was disbarred and lost his license to practice.

This case made my stomach turn. I am feeling physically sick. What can one write or say about this atrocity. We know that Saudi Arabia is no haven for women and I am sure cases like this have always happened. Now we know about it...and I am still too disturbed to really digest this. But I know this is one brave woman to step out and actually talk about it. And kudos to her lawyer as well.

Read more about it on CNN.


Amrita said...

I heard about this. Absolutely fucking disgusting.

dipali said...

It is so damn sickening.

Dee said...

Last night on CNN-IBN I saw pictures of a nude dalit woman being beaten up. Kids were up so had to change the channel, then didn't have the heart to go back to the channel.

This kind of barbarism continues to happen in India as well:(

Jawahara Saidullah said...

Yes, Dee. But at least in India, doing this is not protected by law. Imagine that! This sentence is the law of S. Arabia. This horrible, shameful episode with the dalit woman is actually illegal. In S. Arabia, the law sides with the rapist, and the victim is taken to be complicit in her own victimization.

In India a lawyer cannot be disbarred because he is fighting for the rights of his client.

Sujatha said...

Another sickening parallel is the one that Alex is fighting in Dubai.

There is actually hope that because she spoke out and because there is international pressure (the Saudi representative was grilled about this case at the Middle-East conference in Annapolis this week), the outcome may be different. Hats off also to her husband who stood beside her.

Alien in Pakistan said...

Saudi law is really bizarre: nothing's written down, everything is up to the judge's discretion. I spoke to a Sufi Shaykh about this case and asked him what he thought (also similar to the Amina Lawal case in Sudan, I think, where an unwed mother was due to be stoned to death for having a child out of wedlock).

He said that this is what happens when illiterate people try to fix the Sharia in stone and not keep it fluid, open, and subject to mitigating circumstances and changes in society that are inevitable.

In my opinion, the Sharia works well if it's applied properly, in the spirit it was meant to be. The way it's practiced in these "Muslim" countries is a travesty and something that we Muslims should struggle to change.

Jawahara Saidullah said...

Interesting comment Bina, and the sufi shaykh sounds intelligent and balanced. Laws, shariah, or otherwise should be fluid and open to change. That makes sense.

I don't know if I would consider Saudi judges to be illiterate though. I think it's the scourge of wahabism. Sad!

Indian Home Maker said...

Yes I had read this news and was outraged that something like his could actually be 'legal'!Such injustice has sanction from authorities, religious and legal...it's patriarchy and control, not law or religion that permits such atrocity. If you have read ROOTS you will see how women in Saudi Arabia are treated a lot like the slaves were...they have NO rights, need permits and papers for everything, and worse they have to be accompanied by a male relative always. What puzzles me is aren't there any FATHERS,SONS,BROTHERS- men- who love and respect women, why aren't they openly protesting? Or I guess, like most Indian men, they love their power to control the lives of half their population....can't mothers teach their sons, at least they can make them see that this is WRONG? Is their no hope? It makes me so, so sad.

Indian Home Maker said...

Nice blog! First time here.