Saudi defends verdict against gang-rape victim
Tue Nov 20, 2007
RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia defended on Tuesday a court's decision to sentence a woman who was gang-raped to 200 lashes of the whip, after the United States described the verdict as "astonishing".
The 19-year-old Shi'ite woman from the town of Qatif in the Eastern Province and an unrelated male companion were abducted and raped by seven men in 2006.
Ruling according to Saudi Arabia's strict reading of Islamic law, a court had originally sentenced the woman to 90 lashes and the rapists to jail terms of between 10 months and five years. It blamed the woman for being alone with an unrelated man.
Last week the Supreme Judicial Council increased the sentence to 200 lashes and six months in prison and ordered the rapists to serve between two and nine years in jail.
In my original posting about this case I used the term "double jeopardy" to describe the startling legal tangle in which this young woman finds herself. Upon further consideration I've concluded that there is no word that I know of for this situation; i. e., the victim of a violent crime is charged and convicted of the crime of violating a tenet of Sharia law. Then, upon receiving an extremely harsh sentence (90 lashes), the court decided to up the dose to an inconceivable 200 lashes.
Double jeopardy doesn't fit because that merely covers the case of a defendant being found innocent of a crime and then being tried again for the exact same crime. This is indescribable. Jesus Christ himself only endured 39 lashes.