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Judicial CP - November 2006

Corpun file 18905

Arab News, Riyadh/Jeddah/Dhahran, 3 November 2006

Four Given Jail Terms for Gang-Raping Young Woman

Arab News --

QATIF, 3 November 2006 — Four of the seven men who gang-raped a young woman in March have been sent to jail for periods ranging between one and five years by a court in Qatif and will be given 80 to 1,000 lashes.

According to police sources, only four members of the gang have been sentenced. Another man, who is presently in police custody, is awaiting sentencing while two members of the gang are presently on the run. The court heard how the gang kidnapped the woman and a young man she was secretly meeting at a secluded location in Qatif. The gang members subsequently raped both the woman and the man.

A security source from the Eastern Province said that all the four arrested men had confessed to the crime. He also added that some confessed to raping only the woman where others raped only the man.

"Two of the gang members said that they saw the man and the woman alone and so they kidnapped them and took them to a nearby farm where they committed the crime," said the source.

People living in the Eastern Province were shocked at the case. Gang members were reported to have taken pictures of the rapes and contacted both victims telling them that if they did not help them find other young women to rape they would distribute their pictures.

The woman, who was recently engaged, told her fiancé the men smelled of fish and so she thought they were possibly fishermen. She managed to also take a look at one of the gang members who she later identified. Police searched the area and arrested the culprits.

Speaking about the sentencing, the woman said she was shocked at the light punishment given and added that the gang had destroyed her life.

She said she was expecting a much harsher punishment as the crime very serious and warranted a much more severe punishment than what was handed down.

Her fiancé said that he would appeal against the decision.

The court also sentenced the woman and the man she was meeting to 90 lashes for having met in private. The security source from the Eastern Province said, "The judge sentenced the girl and the man to 90 lashes because they were alone with the intention of doing something bad. Because of that, they will be punished." Relatives of the woman said that they would appeal against the 90-lash-sentence.

During the trial, the woman claimed that she did not know the man and that he had come to her rescue after she was kidnapped. The fifth gang member, who is awaiting sentencing, handed himself to police weeks ago. He will be sentenced on a later date.

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