Jeddah Girl

It sounds an awful lot like the Qatif Girl story, except this time the girl has no supportive husband, no courageous lawyer, and the gang rape results in a pregnancy. The District Court in Jeddah sentenced her to a year in jail and 100 lashes.


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.

Justice and Common Sense

As the new reforms on the legal system are yet to be implemented, I guess that some judges thought they would use whatever left of time for the current system to demonstrate their misjudgment and lack of intelligence. It was not enough for them to sentence the Qatif girl to 90 lashes a year ago, so they decided to more than double the number of lashes plus six months of jail. The girl is a rape victim, but apparently being raped is not enough to spare her the punishment for something called ‘khulwa’.

Now what kind of ‘khulwa’ that would take place in front of a crowded shopping mall is beyond my comprehension, but that’s just me. I’m pretty sure our esteemed judges and those who support this bizarre ruling have many justifications to present upon request, but then again, who on earth am I to question a court which uses the word ‘sharia’ to legitimize their decisions no matter how absurd these decisions are?

Some people have asked me why I have not written about this earlier, and the reason is because I was angry, disgusted and depressed. Those following me on Twitter have probably seen this, and although I have been discussing the issues with my family and friends who share the same feelings with me, I could not bring myself to write about it without using some kind of language that I’d rather not to use on the blog.

The victim’s lawyer Abdul Rahman Al Lahem has been suspended from the case and faces a disciplinary session because the judge thinks that Al Lahem was using the media to affect the court’s ruling. Now how can the media be used to affect the ruling is anyone’s guess, but why should the judge be affected by the media might be something we should be looking at, because as far as I have been told, our right honorable judges are very wise men who claim to base their verdicts on Qura and Sunna, not some blabbering in the media. Anyway, it is not the first time that Al Lahem faces a problem like this. He has been jailed before for defending reformists but he continued his work as Saudi Arabia’s most important human rights lawyer.

It is up to the appeal court now to confront this unjust ruling and finish the suffering of the girl and her husband who bravely stood up beside his wife. Otherwise, this case might require the interference of the king in order for justice and common sense to prevail. Let’s hope they will prevail in the end.

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