Dude, What’s with the Lashing?

Another day, another outrageous lashing sentence.

On Saturday, a court in Jeddah sentenced 22-year-old female journalist Roazanna al-Yamai to 60 lashes for her alleged involvement in the infamous case of Mazen Abdul-Jawad, aka the TV sex braggart. Few minutes ago, AP reported that King Abdullah has waived the sentence and ordered the case be referred to the legal committee at the Ministry of Culture and Information. Well, this should have happened without a royal intervention, but I’m relieved the sentence will not be carried out.

This case aside, I am astonished by the very liberal use of lashing sentences by our right honorable judges. Is this some sort of fetish, as Asmaa once said? Do these sentences say something about struggle to reform the judicial system? Personally, I think that except for the few cases explicitly specified in Quran, lashing should be stopped once and for all. No human being should be given the power to inflect this kind of punishment on another human being, simply.

The Qatif Girl, Again

I honestly did not want to write again about the Qatif Girl case. The last thing this country needs is bad publicity, and as we have seen the so-called Ministry of Justice did not just bring us bad publicity, they also caused a global outrage and tremendous embarrassment to this nation. It wasn’t enough that the ruling was wrong to begin with, they continued to show their incompetency by releasing gibberish statements to justify their ridiculous position.

I think that when MoJ found that their image was badly damaged by this case, they decided that the best way to repair it is by slandering the girl and portray her like a slut who deserved to be raped. How is this supposed to improve their reputation is beyond my comprehension, but let’s wait and see what kind of gems MoJ are still keeping for us.

Two days ago, Shatha Omar on LBC hosted Abdul-Rahman Al Lahim, the girl’s lawyer, to talk about the case. In the opposite direction there was Sheikh Abdul-Mohsen Al Obeikan, an adviser to MoJ and member of the Shoura Council. I was shocked to hear Al Obeikan using certain expressions and words to imply that the girl committed adultery. It was really sickening. Later in the show, there was a call from the girl’s husband who sadly complained that the court did not consider the emotional and psychological state of his wife. “You think I would forgive her if she committed adultery?” he asked. “I’m an Arab man, after all.”

I agree with Al Lahim when he said this ruling sends a strong message to women in Saudi Arabia: don’t seek justice from the legal system, and if you were raped don’t even bother to report it to authorities; you better swallow it and shut up. Moreover, suspending Al Lahim and the statements issued later send a message to the rest of us: don’t even dare to question the judges or criticism the the legal system. But you know what your freakin’ honors? We will not shut up. We will speak up, we will expose your injustice, and we will do our best to ensure that justice and common sense would prevail in the end.

UPDATE: Ibrahim Al Khodhairi, a judge at the appeals court in Riyadh, told Okaz today that the judges in this case should have imposed the death penalty on all the parties involved, including the girl. He also said a lot of nonsense in his interview but I’m not in the mood to deconstruct his statements.