RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — A Saudi court sentenced a woman who had been gang raped to six months in jail and 200 lashes — more than doubling her initial penalty for being in the car of a man who was not a relative, a newspaper reported Thursday. The decision by the Qatif General Court came in a case that had sparked rare debate about the kingdom’s justice system when it surfaced more than a year ago.
In its decision Wednesday, the court also roughly doubled prison sentences for the seven men convicted of raping the 19-year-old woman, the Arab News reported on its English-language Web site. According to Arab News, the court said the woman’s punishment was increased because of “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”
She had initially been sentenced to 90 lashes after being convicting her of violating Saudi’s rigid laws on segregation of the sexes. Under Saudi Arabias interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, women are not allowed in public in the company of men other than their male relatives.
The initial sentences for the men convicted of the gang rape ranged from 10 months to five years in prison. Their new sentences range from two to nine years, the paper said. MORE
MEANWHILE: RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — Heads of state of the 12-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are to gather on Saturday and Sunday for a summit that is only the third since the cartel’s formation 47 years ago.