A woman who was violently gang raped in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail after being found guilty of indecency and talk to the media.
The 19-year-old was in a car with a student friend when two men got into the vehicle and drove them to a secluded area. She says she was raped by seven men, three of whom also attacked her friend.
The Shia Muslim woman had initially been sentenced to 90 lashes after being convicted of violating the Kingdom’s religious diktats on segregation of the sexes.
After the sentences were handed down following the rape in 2006, the woman was sentenced to 90 lashes; however her lawyer appealed to the Saudi General Court. It then doubled her sentence. At the same time, they also doubled the prison sentences for the seven men convicted of raping her, according to Saudi news outlets.
Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, who defended the woman, reached out to the media after the sentences were handed down. The court has since banned him from further defending the woman, confiscating his license and summoning him to a disciplinary hearing later this month.
Saudi Arabia defended the controversial decision to punish the victim, saying that she was at fault for being out without a male family member, something which was met with international outcry.
“The Ministry of Justice welcomes constructive criticism, away from emotions,” it said in a statement.
Please note: The rape victim and her male companion were pardoned by the late King Abdullah in Dec 2007.