Monday, November 27, 2006

Punishing The Victim: Sharia Law In Action.

Sharia law: A study in the victimization of victims.

A few months ago in Saudi Arabia, a teenage girl went to police to report being gang-raped by seven men. (Who were all devout Muslims, no doubt.) Was justice meted out? Sure, if by justice you mean the anti-woman, anti-victim justice that only Sharia law can issue with a straight face.

From the AP:

The story of the Girl of Qatif, as the alleged rape victim has been called by the media here, has triggered a rare debate about Saudi Arabia's legal system, in which judges have wide discretion in punishing a criminal, rules of evidence are shaky and sometimes no defense lawyers are present.

The result, critics say, are sentences left to the whim of judges. These include one in which a group of men got heavier sentences for harassing women than the men in the Girl of Qatif rape case or three men who were convicted of raping a boy. In another, a woman was ordered to divorce her husband against her will based on a demand by her relatives.

In the case of the Girl of Qatif, she was sentenced to 90 lashes for being alone in a car with a man to whom she was not married, a crime in this strictly segregated country, at the time that she was allegedly attacked and raped by a group of other men.

In the sleepy, Shiite village of al-Awwamiya on the outskirts of the eastern city of Qatif, the 19-year-old is struggling to forget the spring night that changed her life. An Associated Press reporter met her in a face-to-face interview. She spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her privacy; the AP does not identify rape victims unless they ask to be named.

Her hands tremble, her dark brown eyes are lifeless. Her sleep is interrupted by a replay of the events, which she describes in a barely audible whisper.

That night, she said, she had left home to retrieve her picture from a male high school student she used to know. She had just been married, but had not moved in with her husband and did not want her picture to remain with the student.

While the woman was in the car with the student, she said, two men intercepted them, got into the vehicle and drove the couple to a secluded area where the two were separated. She said she was raped by seven men, three of whom also allegedly raped her friend.

In a trial that ended in November, in which the prosecutor asked for the death penalty for the seven men, four of the men received between one and five years in prison plus 80 to 1,000 lashes, said the woman. Three others are awaiting sentencing. Neither the defendants nor the plaintiffs retained lawyers, as is common here.

"The big shock came when the judge sentenced me and the man to 90 lashes each," said the woman. The sentence was handed down as part of the rape trial. Lashes are usually spread over several days, dealt around 50 at a time.

The sentences have yet to be carried out, but the punishments ordered have caused an uproar.

Justice in Saudi Arabia is administered by a system of religious courts according to the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. Judges appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council have complete discretion to set sentences, except in cases where Sharia outlines a punishment, such as capital crimes.

That means no two judges would likely hand down the same verdict for similar crimes. A rapist, for instance, could receive anywhere from a light or no sentence to death, depending on the judge.

Civilized societies should be screaming out against the human rights travesty that is Sharia law!

To think that organizations such as the "Islamic Thinker's Society" want to implement this degrading and barbaric system here in America is atrocious! So-called women's rights groups should lay down their political agendas and do what they were incepted to: Defend the rights of women worldwide against such travesties!

I for one, decry this! I reject it, I condemn it! Free women must never let themselves be cocooned in the burqa, and must use their voices to shout out against the perversions of Islamo-fascism while they still can!

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