Gang rape victim sentenced

November 17, 2007

When religious or traditional beliefs overlap with the law of the land, the outcome isn’t always logical.

We witness this to be true when we hear from folks who, in the twenty first century, want children to learn creationism in school. If Christian parents want to teach their kids of Adam and Eve, then no outsider can dictate it to be untrue, and therefore deem it unethical to do so. But Jews, Muslims, Jains and Buddhist children, too, attend the very same school the advocates want to modify the science class curriculum for. Realize that the bible plays as much part in a Hindu child’s life as the Bhagvad-Gita does in a Christian child’s life: zero. That’s where I’ll leave that argument.

Same is true with folks who oppose legalizing marriage between two homosexuals. They claim their religion (and personal beliefs) strictly prohibits so. And of course, all must adhere to their fancy.

In a like twisted government ruling, a 19-year-old woman from Saudi Arabia, who was raped 14 times by seven men, was sentenced to 90 lashes for being in a vehicle with a man who isn’t family.

The rape victim was punished for violating Saudi Arabia’s laws on segregation that forbid unrelated men and women from associating with each other. (BBC)

For the record, the seven men were too punished. Ranging from ten months to up to 5 years.

The story gets better (worse, actually).

A Saudi court has increased the sentence given to (the) gang rape victim to 200 lashes of the whip and six months in prison and ordered disciplinary action against her lawyer. (Reuters)

This happened because she and her lawyer spoke to the media and got sympathy from folks around the world. They shouldn’t have done that. And the government made certain they realize so at the appeals court.

The lawyer, Abdel Rahman al-Lahem, could potentially lose his license. At the moment he is suspended. There are talks to appeal for the third time. But really, would you be surprised if the victim was sentenced to more lashes and time was added to her sentencing?

Lahem’s critics have called him an infidel and “lawyer of homosexuals”. In the past he has been jailed and banned from traveling abroad. He will appear before a disciplinary committee at the ministry of justice on December 5, charged with criticising the judiciary and conducting activist campaigns in the media. (Guardian)

The lawyers is actually a true advocate for those facing injustice in the country. Here’s a link to an article where Lahem took on the case of an outspoken journalist.

Saudi journalist Rabah Al-Quwayi, 24, has been detained by Hail authorities in connection with his writings posted on Internet forums, which they allege place his Islamic faith in doubt.

Lawyer Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem announced yesterday that he would be representing Al-Quwayi.

(Megan) Williams (second from right) was found by police at a home in Logan County in early September. She says she was held against her will, sexually assaulted, stabbed and even threatened with death. All six people charged in connection with the incident are white and face charges of kidnapping and sexual assault. (link)

But the six alleged attackers aren’t being charged for hate crime, despite the pleas of the 400 who marched to Charleston, W.Va. on Saturday. Williams’ lawyer, Brian Williams, said it’d be difficult to prove this to be a hate crime because she had a “social relationship” with one of the attackers before the alleged incident.

 

“Hate crimes are out of control in America,” Malik Shabazz, pictured above, a legal adviser to Williams and her family and a founder of Black Lawyers for Justice, told the group at a rally before the march. “Nooses are being hung and our women are being raped by white mobs. What happened to Megan Williams was a hate crime and we want this prosecuted as a hate crime.” (link)

A hate crime carries an additional sentence of ten years. Although if convicted for kidnapping, the alleged attackers could face a life sentence.

Zayid Muhammad, the national minister of culture for the New Black Panther Party, came to the rally from Newark, N.J.

“As a father of a daughter and a child of African ancestry, the idea that I can sit by idly, (in) the face of one of the most violent and obscene acts committed against a black woman in my life, was too appalling,” Muhammad said. “I had to come.”

A one on one interview with Megan Williams describing the assault in detail is available here.