Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia III

Remember the 200 lashes and six months in prison a gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia was given for talking to the media about the case? Her initial punishment was 90 lashes for being in contact with a man not her relative, but the extra lashes and those six months were added because her lawyer talked to the media. The lawyer had his license revoked for that same act.

What all this means is that the gang-raped woman is now totally without legal representation. The human rights organizations are outraged:

The case has sparked outrage among human rights groups.

"Barring the lawyer from representing the victim in court is almost equivalent to the rape crime itself," said Fawzeyah al-Oyouni, founding member of the newly formed Saudi Association for the Defense of Women's Rights.

"This is not just about the girl, it's about every woman in Saudi Arabia," she said. "We're fearing for our lives and the lives of our sisters and our daughters and every Saudi woman out there. We're afraid of going out in the streets."

Human Rights Watch said it has called on Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah "to immediely void the verdict and drop all charges against the rape victim and to order the court to end its harassment of her lawyer."

Even John Edwards is outraged. From an e-mail:

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Today, Senator John Edwards released the following statement;

"Today's news that a Saudi Arabian court has chosen to punish the victim of a gang rape is an appalling breach of the most fundamental human rights. I am outraged that President Bush has refused to condemn the sentence. We need a president who will reengage with the world and restore our moral authority - only then will we be able to lead other nations in protecting the basic rights and human dignity of every person on this planet."

How about it, President Bush? You could tell your pals to go a little easier on their womenfolk.