Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has pardoned a female rape victim who had been sentenced to 200 lashes for being alone with a man at the time of the attack who was not related to her. Saudi Justice Minister Abdullah bin Muhammed al-Sheik told al-Jazirah newspaper that the pardon does not mean the king doubted the country's judges, but instead acted in the ''interests of the people.''
"There is no legal or Islamic basis for such sentencing. Although it is true that according to Qur’anic teaching, a woman may not meet a man in privacy, no punishment was decreed for taking such action."
The Saudi Ministry of Justice should immediately stop publishing statements aimed at damaging the reputation of a young Saudi rape victim who spoke out publicly about her ordeal and her efforts to find justice, said HRW.
"We note a shift in public discourse concerning this case; it has effectively turned from a gang rape — in which the rapists were the perpetrators — to a case of seduction in which the girl is the seducer and guilty party."