You will recall this story about a woman raped in Saudi Arabia and convicted of her crime of being a victim.

There is an update.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has pardoned the victim of a gang-rape whose sentencing to 200 lashes caused an international outcry, a Saudi newspaper said on Monday.

The victim’s husband welcomed the news, but said he had not been informed officially of the pardon decree.

“I’m happy and my wife is happy and it will of course help lift some of her psychological and social suffering,” he told Reuters. “We thank the king for his generous attention and fatherly spirit.”

The 19-year-old Shi’ite woman was abducted and raped along with a male companion by seven men last year in a case that piled international pressure on the government to step in.

Ruling according to the strict Saudi reading of Islamic law, a court sentenced the woman to 90 lashes for being alone with an unrelated man and the rapists to jail terms of up to five years.

The Supreme Judicial Council last month increased the sentence to 200 lashes and six months in prison and ordered the rapists to serve between two years and nine years in prison.
[source]

Apparently, international political pressure matters sometimes.

In an only vaguely related story, a couple in Central Islip, NY wad convicted yesterday of enslaving two women they had acquired in Indonesia to work as housekeepers in their mansion.

(details here)

The story is related in my mind because of the Saudi connection. When I was living in the vicinity of Cambridge, Mass, one of the Saudi princes also lived there, in a suite in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. There were problems. The prince had paid off members of the Cambridge Police Department to work as his minions. They (the police) would arrive now and then, in force, at a local park and clear out all of the parents and kiddies playing on the playground or having their picnic. Then the Saudi prince and his family would show up and take their constitutionals. This went on for quite some time.

Then, one day, a woman was spotted dangling from a window at the Charles Hotel, holding on to a string of bed sheets she had tied together. This was one of the Prince’s slaves, and she was attempting her escape.

This, of course, broke the whole story and the Prince was disgraced in the eyes of the locals. This sort of thing had happened before, where he had previously lived, and once again, the family had to pack up their diplomatic immunity and move to a different American city. I don’t know what happened to them after that.

(thanks CMF for the story)

Comments

  1. #1 The Ridger
    December 19, 2007

    Not to defend the Kingdom’s archaic and misogynistic laws, but there’s no point in spreading false reports. The woman was sentenced because she was alone with a man she wasn’t married to – NOT the rapists, but her co-victim, a man she had known in school and from whom she was retrieving something she had lent him.

    In other words, had she merely met him, picked up her property, and gone home, she would STILL have been liable to that sentence had the police found out. The gang rape just brought her “crime” to the attention of the authorities.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2007

    Ridger, yes, you are correct but I don’t see where there is a falsehood being spread.

  3. #3 the real cmf
    December 19, 2007

    Ridger: a falsehood? What is that in this case?
    Greg: that sort of special treatment of Saudi’s is particularly conspicuous down in Rochester MN. Those guys run that city.

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