You might have heard by now about the appalling case in Saudi Arabia recently where a woman was sentenced to receive 200 lashes and jail time for being the victim of a gangrape. That woman was defended by a brave Saudi lawyer named Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem. Naturally, the Saudi government has suspended al-Lahem for defending the woman:
Saudi officials have revoked the license of human rights lawyer Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem, who has handled the country’s most controversial cases and defended a gang-rape victim sentenced to jail time and lashes.
Lahem, 36, faces a disciplinary hearing Dec. 5 to determine the length of his suspension.
Disciplined for what, you ask?
Lahem is accused by the prosecutor general of “belligerent behavior, talking to the media for the purpose of perturbing the judiciary, and hurting the country’s image,” according to an official letter he received Monday.
Yeah, we wouldn’t want to perturb a judiciary that cares nothing for justice. Lahem has a history of supporting liberty in a place where that concept is quite foreign:
Since he started practicing law almost five years ago, Lahem has defended clients whom other lawyers refused, including a school administrator suspended for criticizing the religious establishment, a man convicted of promoting homosexuality for saying it was genetic, three political reformists seeking a constitutional monarchy, and the first Saudis suing the country’s powerful religious police.
Lahem said that losing his license would be a blow to the country’s budding human rights movement.
“If I am banned from practicing law, nobody will dare go up against the judiciary again,” said Lahem, a slight man with a limp from a childhood accident. “If I win, it will open a new chapter for human rights in Saudi Arabia.”
I would only tell this brave man one thing: this is how revolutions begin. They begin with brave men and women taking a stand against the seemingly invincible power of a tyrannical government and declaring that they will not be silenced no matter what the cost to themselves. Those brave people very often die, but the forces of modernism that they unleash by their death is not so easily dispatched. If true civilization is to come to the Saudi people, they will have this man to thank when it does. Let’s just hope he’s alive to see it happen.