Friday, November 30, 2007

In the name of God: the Saudi rape victim's tale

from The Belfast Telegraph (UK: Northern Ireland)

The "Qatif girl" recounted her ordeal to Human Rights Watch: "I had a relationship with someone on the phone. We were both 16. I had never seen him before. He threatened to tell my family about the relationship. Because of the threats and fear, I agreed to give him a photo of myself." A few months later, after she had been married to another man, she became concerned that the photograph might be misused and asked the boy to return it. He accepted on the condition that she would meet him and go for a drive with him. However, when they were driving towards her home a second car stopped in front of them. She and her companion were taken to a secluded spot where they were both raped, many times ... In the hours that followed her attackers told the girl they knew she was married. "The fifth one took a photo of me like this. I tried to cover my face but they didn't let me." Despite the prosecution's requests for the maximum penalty for the rapists, the Qatif court sentenced four of them to between one and five years in prison and between 80 and 1,000 lashes. They were convicted of kidnapping, apparently because prosecutors could not prove rape. The images recorded on the mobile phone were presented in court but ignored by the judges, according to her lawyer.

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