Alert: Saudi Gang Rape Victim Facing Miscarriage of Justice

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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19 November 2007

Alert: Saudi Gang Rape Victim Facing Miscarriage of Justice

1) Background

A 19-year-old girl from Qatif, who was reportedly gang raped 14 times a year-and-a-half ago, has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail. She was charged for being in the car of an unrelated man, shortly after which they both were reportedly abducted by a group of seven men and were gang raped.

All of the perpetrators were sentenced to between two and nine years in prison with lashes. The girl and the man she was meeting were initially sentenced to 90 lashes each by the Qatif General Court, however, the sentence of the girl was increased after she appealed against her sentence but lost the hearing in the Higher Court of Justice. According to a quote by an official in Arab News, the judges increased her sentence because she had used the influence of the media to put pressure on the judiciary. The sentence of the rapists was also doubled.

The victim’s lawyer, Abdel Rahman Al-Lahem, stated, “My client is the victim of this abhorrent crime. I believe her sentence contravenes the Islamic Sharia law and violates the pertinent international conventions.” Mr Al-Lahem also faced disciplinary action after he spoke to the media about the original sentence. His license to practice law was recently revoked by the Qatif General Court. According to Arab News, his license was suspended because the court alleges that he raised his voice at the judge, which the lawyer denies. He was not allowed to be present in the second hearing of the case, when the victim was handed down the harsher sentence.

The victim’s legal guardian, her husband, is scheduled to receive a copy of the verdict on Saturday, 24 November 2007 from the Qatif General Court, after which the defendant will have 30 days to file an appeal with the Court of Cassation. She has decided to appeal against the verdict but faces an increase in the sentence if her appeal is rejected.

2) Action Required

a. Write to King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and request him to revoke the harsh sentence handed down to the rape victim.

King Abdullah Bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court,
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

b. Write to Prince Saud Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of KSA, and request him to revoke the harsh sentence handed down to the rape victim.

HRH Prince Saud al-Faisal bin \’Abdul \’Aziz Al-Saud
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Nasseriya Street
Riyadh 11124
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

c. Write to Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Minister of Interior of KSA, and request him to revoke the harsh sentence handed down to the rape victim.

HRH Prince Naif bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud
Minister of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior
P.O. Box 2933
Airport Road
Riyadh 11134
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

d. Write to the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in your country and appeal against the harsh sentence handed down to the rape victim.

UK campaigners can write to:

HE HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud
30 Charles Street
Mayfair
London W1J 5DZ

Email ukemb@mofa.gov.sa

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Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is extremely important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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Sample Letter to King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

[Date]

[Recipient’s Address]

Your Majesty,

Re: Saudi Gang Rape Victim Facing Miscarriage of Justice

I am writing to request Your Excellency to withdraw the harsh sentence handed down to Saudi teenage girl who was brutally gang raped by seven men a year-and-a-half ago. She was handed down a sentence of 200 lashes and six months in prison on 14 November 2007 in Qatif General Court.

Her lawyer, Abdel Rahman Al-Lahem, also had his license to practice law revoked after he spoke to the media about the original sentence. The girl was initially sentenced to 90 lashes after she was charged with being in the company of an unrelated man. However, when she appealed against this verdict, her sentence was increased.

In a time, when Islam is being demonized for being an unjust religion, Muslims have to make greater efforts to ensure that Islam is portrayed in its true light, for being a religion of mercy, compassion and justice.

I therefore request Your Excellency to exercise justice and show mercy in this girl’s case, as she has been the victim of a brutal crime and has already suffered much physical and emotional abuse.

Islam teaches us to be just and compassionate towards fellow human beings and to support and protect the victims of injustice. Hence I sincerely request you to show compassion to the victim and compensate her for the suffering that she has undergone.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Sample Letter to the Rest

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

[Date]

[Recipient’s Address]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

Re: Saudi Gang Rape Victim Facing Miscarriage of Justice

I am writing to request you to withdraw the harsh sentence handed down to Saudi teenage girl who was brutally gang raped by seven men a year-and-a-half ago. She was handed down a sentence of 200 lashes and six months in prison on 14 November 2007 in Qatif General Court.

Her lawyer, Abdel Rahman Al-Lahem, also had his license to practice law revoked after he spoke to the media about the original sentence. The girl was initially sentenced to 90 lashes after she was charged with being in the company of an unrelated man. However, when she appealed against this verdict, her sentence was increased.

This unjust decision by the Saudi judiciary will not only negatively affect the image of Saudi Arabia but also of the whole Muslim world. In a time, when Islam is being demonized for being an unjust religion, Muslims have to make greater efforts to ensure that Islam is portrayed in its true light, for being a religion of mercy, compassion and justice.

Islam commands Muslims to establish justice and not to let any pressure or personal consideration influence one from carrying out this command. I therefore request you to exercise justice in this case and show mercy towards the girl, as she has been the victim of a brutal crime and has already suffered much physical and emotional abuse.

I sincerely request you to show compassion to the victim and compensate her for the suffering that she has undergone.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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