December 19, 2007
"Girl of Qatif": It's Raining Pardons
First, the female victim was "pardoned", now it's been reported that Saudi's King Abdullah has also pardoned the man she was with at the time of the attack.
Reading from a royal letter, the country's Justice Minister further told Saudi television yesterday that the licence of the man who defended the "Girl of Qatif" has not been suspended or revoked.
The initial sentence against a 19-year old woman, gang-raped by seven men in the Saudi town of Qatif, initially caused consternation, because the female victim was also punished for appearing in public with a man not related to her.
The idea: women invite victimization if they do not adhere to strict social rules. A variation on the age-old "if a woman walks late at night in the street in a mini-skirt and is sexually assaulted, she is at least partially responsible for the attack."
Many observers say the King's decision is only the result of international pressure and worldwide outrage surrounding the case. Some argue that this may lead to a change in the way women are treated in Saudi Arabia's justice system.
Here is a link to CNN.com's story on today's developments.
Do you think this case will force change from within in Saudi Arabia? Send us your thoughts at email@example.com or add a comment below.
--Posted by Hala Gorani
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