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Saudi king 'pardons rape victim'

What a sad headline. It encapsulates all that is wrong with this story, and the justice system in Saudi Arabia, Bush’s partner in Bush’s War on Terror. Life for women in that country is a human rights nightmare.

Women cannot drive, vote, or to appear in public without being accompanied by a male relative. Judgment is harsh for any breach of social and religious norms; in this case the outcry over a rape victim being sentenced to jail and 200 lashes for being alone with another man was so intense, that the King pardoned her.

The BBC’s Heba Saleh says the king’s decision to pardon the woman victim is already arousing controversy with some contributors to conservative websites, who say he has breached the rules of religion in order to appease critics in the West.

Earlier, the woman – who is a Shia Muslim from the Qatif area – had reportedly said she met the man in order to retrieve a photograph of them together, having herself recently got married.

She says two other men then entered the car and took them to a secluded area where others were waiting, and both she and her male companion were raped.

The woman’s companion was sentenced to 90 lashes. It is not known if his sentence was also lifted.

It should be noted that the U.S. has not condemned the Saudi justice system. I’m sure some of the religious extremists here would like to see women do more than “submit to their husbands” if given the opportunity.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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