11/16/2007, 00.00
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Saudi Court condemns rape victim to 200 lashings and six months prison

She is guilty of having been in a car with a “non relative” male at the time of the aggression by a group of men. The fist hearing had “only” condemned her to 90 lashings, but the Appeals Court increased the sentence because the young women “attempted to influence judgement through the media”.

Riyadh (AsiaNews) – A  appeals court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a women raped by six men to  200 lashes and six months in prison. The women is guilty of “"being in the car of an unrelated male” at the time of the rape by a band of aggressors and  for "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media”.

The sentence reported by Arab News, was pronounced by a court in Al-Qatif,  Western Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia's Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial after she was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes. A court source  said that the judges had decided to punish the woman further for "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."

The original sentence issued last week had originally condemned the six rapists to a punishment of between one and five years in prison.  That term was also doubled according to the new sentence.

The case has provoked outrage among the minority Shiite community, to which the victim belongs, while the rapists belong to the majority Sunnis.

The news of the sentence was widely covered by Arab press, with headlines such as this one carried by Middle East Online: “Only is Saudi Arabia is a victim of gang rape punished”.


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