Thursday, November 15, 2007

Saudi court orders 200 lashes for rapist rape victim

One of the chips in George W. Bush's grab bag of rationales for his policy of Middle Eastern colonization War on Terror, including the occupation of Iraq, was the Universal Suffrage of Women.

The liberation of Arab women, the president assured us, was a key component of his plan to export democracy to the Muslim world.

Iraqi women are working with the United States State Department to develop democracy programs that educate women about their rights. Women's self-help and vocational centers are springing up across Iraq, from Karbala to Kirkuk. Our commitment to the women of Iraq is part of a broader effort to support women across the Middle East, from girls' literacy programs in Yemen, to micro-credit initiatives for women entrepreneurs in Jordan, to legal workshops in Bahrain.

We're making progress toward greater rights for women in the Middle East and around the world. But still, too many women face violence and prejudice. Many continue to live in fear, imprisoned in their homes. And in brothels, young girls are held against their will and used as sex slaves.

For a stable world, we must dedicate ourselves to protecting women's rights in all countries.
Perhaps, then, the president would be willing to explain how he reconciles his ferocious dedication to women's rights with his devotion to one of the world's most repressive regimes, where outrages such as this take place.

A Saudi court sentenced a 19-year-old woman victim of gang rape to six months in jail and 200 lashes — more than double than in her initial sentence for being in the car of a man who was not her relative, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The decision Wednesday was a shocking move by the General Court in the Saudi city of Qatif, in a case that had sparked debate about the kingdom's justice system when it surfaced over a year ago.


The court also banned the woman's lawyer from defending her, confiscated his license to practice law and summoned him to a disciplinary hearing later this month.


The judges, appointed by the king, have a wide discretion in handing down sentences, often said to depend on their whim. A rapist, for instance, could receive anywhere from a light or no sentence, to death.
If Bush truly is concerned about "protecting women's rights in all countries," he bears a moral obligation to re-examine America's relationship with Saudi Arabia. It is not enough simply to declare that this brutal autocracy is a "key ally" in the war on terror. Those words have to mean something.

And if beating a rape victim with a whip does not qualify as "terror," then that word has no meaning.

If America cares about what is right, then it has to stand up for what is right, and to stand against what is wrong. I don't care how much oil the Saudis have.


Suricou Raven said...

The official excuse for inaction by the US: " ... ... ... ... ... "

I think its partly that Bush has a few ties with SA himself - financial investments there by himself and his family - but mostly just that there is only room for one or two bogeymen at a time. Currently Iran is Bogy-In-Chief, and takes all the media attention. North Korea is chasing up in the rear, still sulking because their bomb was a dud.

That, and SA is a *big* oil exporter. Losing the good trade relationship with them would be an economic disaster that would make the Great Depression look like a minor inconvenience. So, whatever oppression they get up to, there isn't really much that can be done.