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Judicial CP - January 2005
Arab News, Jeddah/Riyadh/Dhahran, 7 January 2005
Jail and Lashes for 3 in Camera Phone Sex Assault
RIYADH, 7 January 2005 Two young Saudis have been sentenced by the high court here to prison terms and flogging for orchestrating and filming a Nigerian driver sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl, Al-Watan newspaper reported yesterday.
Judge Muhammad ibn Abdullah Al-Luhaidan sentenced the main defendant, Barjis ibn Faleh, 27, to 12 years imprisonment and 1,200 lashes, while compatriot Abdulrahman ibn Haif, 22, was sentenced to two years and 200 lashes, Al-Watan reported.
The Nigerian driver who appeared in the film, Youssef Abkar Mohammad Abdullah, was sentenced to a six-year imprisonment and 600 lashes, the paper said.
The scandal, which shocked the conservative Saudi society, broke out after the accused circulated footage of the assault through mobile phones equipped with cameras.
The trio used the camera phone Panda and distributed the phone clip using Blue Tooth and on websites.
The trio came to be known as the Panda gang.
The phone clip shows the girl pleading as she is assaulted by the driver, while one of the two young men, apparently her former boyfriend, hurls abuse at her.
Legal sources told Al-Watan that the high court's decision was not final and that the accused could appeal the decision to the supreme judicial council which will issue a final decision.
Sources also told Al-Watan that the lashes would not be delivered at one go but would be distributed every Friday until the punishment is completed.
The two Saudis were arrested last July after the girl's family lodged a complaint.
Many people in Saudi Arabia had expressed anger at the men's behavior on Internet sites. They had demanded tough punishment for the three so it will be a lesson to everyone.
Once the video clip was distributed, the police arrested the three gang members and detained them in Al-Sulaimaneya prison for investigation and later transferred to Al-Hayer prison southeast of Riyadh.
Copyright: Arab News © 2003 All rights reserved.
Arab News, Jeddah/Riyadh/Dhahran, 12 January 2005
15 Jailed for Anti-Govt Demonstration
By Abdul Wahab Bashir
JEDDAH, 12 January 2005 A court in Jeddah has sentenced 15 people, including a Saudi woman, to prison terms and lashing for taking part last month in an illegal demonstration called for by Saudi dissident Saad Al-Faqih. Six other defendants are awaiting trial by the Shariah Court.
The state prosecutor objected to the sentences, saying they were too lenient and demanded stiffer ones for the demonstrators who were arrested on Dec. 16. The sentences will be referred to the Court of Cassation.
One of the defendants, a Saudi woman, was sentenced to six months in prison. Two foreign residents among the 15 were given separate jail sentences of five and two months, according to Okaz. In all, 21 people were arrested in Jeddah, 15 of them were tried and sentenced and the remaining six will appear later in court.
The 15 were given varying prison terms by the Shariah court which also ordered that they receive between 100 to 250 lashes. The sentences were passed after taking into consideration the level of involvement of each defendant and the confessions they made admitting taking part in the demonstration and regretting their action.
The court proceedings witnessed confusion as some defendants retracted their confessions when they were brought before the judge and then later admitted taking part in the demonstration. Some pleaded not guilty saying they were unaware of the consequences of taking part in an illegal gathering while others alleged they were onlookers who came to see what was going on.
The defendants were read their rights including the right to have an attorney or agent to speak on their behalf. All chose to defend themselves with the exception of the woman who asked for her brother to speak for her. Her request was granted.
Only a handful of people heeded Al-Faqih's call for a anti-government demonstration. Security forces were deployed in large numbers in Jeddah as well as in Riyadh in order to discourage the illegal gathering. Police detained some people in the two cities, with witnesses saying that the number of onlookers and other bystanders who came out of curiosity outnumbered the actual demonstrators.
A group of 35 Saudi religious leaders and academics had earlier issued statements warning people against taking part in the protest and describing such actions as madness and those who are behind them as working against the nation.
Copyright: Arab News © 2003 All rights reserved.
Saudi Institute, Washington, 24 January 2005
Saudi Court in Makkah Lashes 12-Year-Old Boy 80 Times
(Washington DC- January 24, 2005) … A 12 year old boy was lashed 80 times in the street by a Saudi court hours after he was arrested at the annual Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj), Saudi newspaper Okaz. reported Monday.
The paper said the boy who is from Bangladesh was arrested in Mena, three miles outside the holy city of Makkah, where two million Muslims gathered for the annual pilgrimage after he was allegedly caught pick pocketing pilgrims.
The paper said an Ad Hoc court that operates during the annual pilgrimage sentenced the boy only hours after his arrest, and applied the punishment on the street outside the court. No lawyers or family members were present during the process, but the boy was later handed to his family.
The field court is headed by Shaikh Abdullah AbdulRahman Al-Othaim, Shaikh AbdulRahman Al-Hussaini, and Shaikh Hamad Abdullah Al-Khudairy, judges who usually work at Jeddah courts but moved to Mena to set up the summery court during Hajj, the paper said.
Torture by lashing is a common punishment administrated by Saudi courts which operate according to Wahhabi Muslim traditions. Lashes can reach as high as 5000 lashes in some cases.
In July a court in Najran sentenced two men to 750 lashes for writing on the internet about the government persecution of Ismaili Muslims who are a majority in Najran near the Yemeni border.
Saudi courts are limited to Wahhabi Muslim judges. Other Muslims such as non-Wahhabi Sunni and Shia Muslims barred from judgeships.
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