A year-and-a-half ago in the Eastern Province town of Qatif, a seven men gang-raped a 19-year-old girl 14 times. Three judges from the Qatif General Court sentenced the rape victim to 90 lashes for being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape. The sentences for the seven rapists ranged from 10 months to five years in prison.That's right - when the rape victim complained that punishing her for being raped was a bit unfair, the judges decided to she needs to be doubly punished for daring to tell them her opinion.After all...she's just a woman.
The case was referred back to the General Court by the Appeals Court judges last summer after Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, the victim’s lawyer, successfully contested against the initial verdict saying it too lenient for the rapists and unjust for the victim.
Yesterday, the General Court in Qatif doubled the number of lashes for a rape victim as well as jail terms for her assaulters. In its verdict, the court also suspended the victim’s lawyer from defending her.
The Appeals Court sentenced the victim to 200 lashes and six months in prison. The seven rapists had their sentences increased to between two and nine years. The verdict came in as a shock to everybody.
A source at the Qatif General Court said that the judges had informed the rape victim that the reason behind doubling her punishment was “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”