Rape: Who Gets Punished and Who Does Not?
Abeer Mishkhas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week the Arabic daily Okaz carried a story on two more rape cases in Qatif. One of them involved a 17-year-old boy who was dragged into a field by two men and raped. The atrocity was also filmed. The two rapists then attempted to assault another young man who managed to escape and go to the police. The two men were eventually caught and are now awaiting trial.
These two crimes follow the famous rape case known in Saudi Arabia as the â€œQatif Girlâ€ incident which was a top news story a few months ago. For those who donâ€™t know, it was the gang rape of a girl in Qatif who called for help and when a man attempted to help her, he was beaten up and raped as well. The sentences, as reported by Arab News, were â€œFour of the seven men have been sent to jail for periods ranging from one to five years and will be given 80 to 1,000 lashes.â€ In addition, â€œThe court also sentenced the woman and the man she was meeting to 90 lashes for having met in private. The security source from the Eastern Province said, â€˜The judge sentenced the girl and the man to 90 lashes because they were alone with the intention of doing something bad. Because of that, they will be punished.â€™â€ Relatives of the woman said that they would appeal the 90-lash-sentence.
Writing in Arab News, Abeer Mishkhas makes it very clear that Saudi Arabia is in need of codification of laws and far more transparency. She tells the story of several different rape cases and how they were handled by various courts. Too often, she claims, sharia courts seem to judge on the basis of suspicion and not on evidence. She’s asking that all courts work from the same interpretation of laws to prevent what she sees as grave injustices.