New Delhi: In a shocking incident, a court in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia sentenced 200 lashes and a jail term to a woman who was raped by seven men. The order was pronounced after she was found guilty of speaking about the crime and crudeness to the media.
According to the Middle East Monitor, the 19-year-old Shia woman was in the car of a student friend when two men got into the vehicle and drove them to a secluded area, where she was raped by the seven men.
The woman was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in a car of a man who was not related to her, which is in violation of the country's law that mandates a woman to be accompanied by a male family member at public places.
The victim's lawyer Abdul Rahman al-Lahem's appeal to the Saudi General Court for relief was met with even more shockingly. The court increased the sentence to 200 lashes on grounds that the woman had spoken to the media about the incident.
Besides, the lawyer was also banned from the case; his license was confiscated, and was summoned to a disciplinary hearing.
The rapists, on the other hand, were handed a light sentence by the court. According to Press TV reports, the rapists were sentenced to just five years in prison. Considering the heinous crime and strict state laws, they could have faced the death penalty.
The inhuman verdict from the Saudi court has invited criticism from several activists and human rights organisations around the world.
Human Rights Watch condemned the ruling saying, “Not only sends victims of sexual violence the message that they should not press charges, but in effect offers protection and impunity to the perpetrators”.
But the Kingdom replied, “The Ministry of Justice welcomes constructive criticism, away from emotions,” faulting the woman for going out without a male family member.