Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Will The Girl of Qatif Reform Saudi Justice?

The Girl of Qatif -- the Saudi gang-rape victim who was sentence to jail and 200 lashes by Saudi Arabia's Islamic Sharia courts -- may bring about some liberalization of the nation's judicial system. (This photo reportedly shows what 50 lashes looks like after 20 days.)

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, speaking to AP in Annapolis, said the case would be reviewed by the Saudi judiciary before it moves on to the nation's highest court, in what may be a challenge to the Wahhabi judiciary.

Saudi writer Sultan al-Qahtani said Saud's comment might be the "strongest message yet" from the kingdom's leadership that the judiciary must reform. The international pressure over the case could provide momentum to legal reform efforts pushed by Saudi King Abdullah.

"The controversy over the Girl of Qatif sentence might lead to a strong push for the government, which is inclined toward reform, to confront the other elements that insist the kingdom maintain its extreme religiosity," he wrote this week on liberal Saudi Web Site Elaph.

Liberal Saudi Web site? Hmmm. Oxymoronic, eh?

The AP story did include something I hadn't seen before: The perps didn't just rape the woman, they raped the man, as well! For this, they got between two and nine years in prison -- in a country that previously has beheaded gays with gay abandon.

This underscores the arbitrariness of the Saudi judicial system, where there is no code of justice, just the individual interpretation of Wahhabi clerics. Here are some examples cited by AP:
In recent cases, ... three teenagers were beheaded for attacking a gas station and injuring a worker while a government employee who received thousands of riyals as a bribe was only sentenced eight months in prison. A group of men received 12 years in prison for sexual harassment, compared to the shorter sentences for the Girl of Qatif rapists.
This is the Sharia system Islamic activists are so enamored with; the system the many Muslims would love to impose on Europe and America. Of course, that's a simple proposition to deal with: Over our dead bodies, Mohammed.

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