MAS Freedom Condemns Saudi Miscarriage of Justice in Gang Rape Sentencing

Muslim Community Called Upon to Stand in Solidarity Against Human

Rights Abuse

Nov 20, 2007, 00:00 ET from MAS Freedom

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MAS Freedom (MASF), as
 the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society
 (MAS), in response to what is clearly a gross and cruel miscarriage of true
 justice, expressed both outrage and intense protest to the government of
 Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of a judicial decree to punish a 19-year-old
 female victim of gang rape, known only as 'Qatif Girl,' with 200 lashes and
 6-months imprisonment.
     According to Arab News, CNN and other international media sources, the
 victim had been gang raped by seven Saudi men, when she attempted to
 retrieve unspecified photographs from allegedly being used in a blackmail
     However, when the woman made a public protest in response to what she
 and her attorney, Abdul-Rahman Al-Lahem, considered the inappropriately
 lenient prison sentences given to her attackers-ranging from ten months to
 five years - she herself received a court sentence of six months in prison,
 and 200 lashes.
     The victim's attorney was subsequently disbarred by a Saudi court and
 prohibited from further representing his client as a result of protests
 lodged regarding the lightness of the court's prior decision on the
 sentences of the convicted rapists.
     Al-Lahem was scheduled to meet with an administrative judge on Monday
 to seek reinstatement to the bar and permission to continue representing
 his client. It is reported that Saudi officials have not responded to media
 requests for comments on the case.
     Mahdi Bray, the Executive Director of MAS Freedom, issued the following
 statement regarding this incident:
     "MAS Freedom views the sentencing in this case as an unspeakably cruel
 and brutal miscarriage justice, and a clear violation of the compassion and
 mercy taught by the religion of Islam. Not only has this woman endured the
 horror of gang rape, but she is now being subject to an equally terrible
 infliction of pain and harm by the legal system of Saudi Arabia.
     "We call upon the Saudi government to overturn this cruel sentence, and
 to immediately reinstate her attorney to the practice of law so that he can
 give her the legal representation that she is due.
     "Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught in his Sunnah (Prophetic tradition)
 that 'Paradise lies at the feet of our mothers.' How, then, can Muslims
 tolerate the violent abuse of women in the eyes of any legal system?
     "American Muslims must not be silent in the face of such blatant
 violations of decency and fundamental human rights. We call upon our entire
 community, and American Muslim organizations nationwide to condemn this
 terrible miscarriage of justice.
     "MAS Freedom believes that the true value and beauty of Islam can only
 be manifested when women are afforded the respect, and human rights given
 to all human beings by our Creator. We reject the distorted, and un-Islamic
 idea, that regards the systematic oppression, and even physical violation
 of women as tolerable."
     The victim's husband (and 'legal guardian') is scheduled to receive a
 copy of the verdict this coming Saturday from the Qatif General Court,
 after which the defendant will have 30-days to file an appeal with the
 Court of Cassation.
     MAS Freedom (MASF) is a civic and human rights advocacy entity and
 sister organization of the Muslim American Society (MAS), the largest
 Muslim, grassroots, charitable, religious, social, cultural, civic and
 educational organization in America - with 55 chapters in 35 states. Learn
 more here (