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Judicial CP - June 2009

Corpun file 21421

Philippine Star, Manila, 21 June 2009

60 lashes for OFWs in Saudi 'gay show'

By Pia Lee Brago

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MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine embassy in Riyadh yesterday reported that the 67 Filipino workers who were arrested during a raid for holding a "gay show" last week may face 50-60 lashes and at least three months imprisonment after they were charged with "imitating women" and "display of homosexuality."

In an interview on the weekly radio program "Para Sa Iyo Bayan" of Vice President Noli de Castro, also presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Rousell Reyes, third secretary and vice consul of the Philippine embassy in Riyadh, said the offense carries the punishment of lashing and imprisonment.

The OFWs were celebrating Philippine Independence Day.

Reyes said the embassy has no information on the identities and work of the 67 Filipinos who were charged and released because no one reported the incident to the diplomatic post.

An embassy case officer was sent to the police station on Wednesday after receiving reports that Filipinos were arrested during a raid last June 13 on a compound in an eastern Riyadh neighborhood.

Police confirmed to the embassy that 67 Filipino workers, not 69 as earlier reported, were arrested and detained.

"Some of those arrested were reportedly wearing gowns and wigs and drinking liquor. It seems that there was a party," Reyes said.

Not all of those arrested were homosexuals, but they were at the party with their Filipino partners who were also arrested and detained.

Reyes said the embassy has to give a diplomatic note to the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be able to get the names of those arrested.

He said the filing of charges against the 67 OFWs have been reported to Saudi immigration authorities to prevent them from leaving the country.

Reyes said two similar cases happened last year in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia, where Filipinos held a beauty pageant that was raided.

In a report to De Castro, Philippine Ambassador to Riyadh Antonio Villamor said the Filipinos were released after their respective sponsors guaranteed and paid for the corresponding fees.

Only sponsors can bail out foreign workers who are jailed, with their assurance that the accused would attend court trial.

Saudi Arabia's laws strictly prohibit open display of homosexual behavior, with penalties including fines, imprisonment or whipping.

Corpun file 21419


Arab News, Riyadh, 28 June 2009

Couple sentenced to jail, lashes for child abduction

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RIYADH: A court in Riyadh has sentenced a couple who kidnapped a newborn baby from a Riyadh hospital last year.

The man was convicted of kidnapping the infant girl, named Shahad, from the National Guard Hospital in February 2008 and sentenced to 15 years in jail and 13,000 lashes. His wife received three years in jail and 1,500 lashes for abetting the crime.

Shahad was just one-day old when she was taken from the hospital. The ruling was delivered after a trial that lasted seven months.

Shahad was found nine months after she went missing, according to the Shams newspaper. The child's father had offered a SR1 million reward to anyone who could provide information about his missing daughter.

A witness had testified that he saw a woman in white shoes and abaya running away from the hospital with a baby in a suspicious manner. Although the information was minimal, it helped investigators zero in on the clue and look for the woman.

The investigations led to a couple living in the north of Riyadh with a baby. On searching their home, police were able to find a pair of white shoes. Subsequent DNA tests confirmed that the girl was Shahad.

During investigations, the man claimed he and his wife found the baby and he had contacted police six months later to report he had found her. The general prosecutor, however, contradicted the man's statement by proving he had not contacted police.

The court heard that when the couple was confronted with evidence, the man shouted and cursed his wife. When questioned individually, the woman initially denied kidnapping the child. She later said her husband brought the baby home saying it was his friend's baby and that he had asked him to look after her for a few days as the friend and his wife were having difficulties.

When confronted with the witness statement placing a woman in abaya and white shoes at the hospital, the woman denied it was her. She was then asked to don her abaya and white shoes, and the witness was brought to identify her, which he did. In spite of this, the woman stood by her previous statement.

The general prosecutor called for the harshest punishment for the couple, saying their crime caused the girl's family immense pain.

In court, the man changed his statement. He said he and his wife found the baby in a push chair with no sign of her parents while out shopping. He said they took the infant with them and he did not inform the police, as he was wanted over a case relating to money.

He said he was subsequently arrested in connection with the financial case and spent six months in jail. On his release, he reported the infant to the police but was arrested again.

The woman stuck to her original story that the child was brought home by her husband. She said every time she pushed him to report the baby to police, her husband would say he was taking care of everything. She said when her husband was released from prison, she insisted that he return the baby to her parents. She said she did not inform the police, as she was scared of her husband.

Copyright: Arab News 2003 All rights reserved.

Corpun file 21420

Saudi Gazette, Riyadh, 29 June 2009

Saudi appeals lashes for ex-wife messages

By Majed Al-Marshad

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BURAIDAH -- A Saudi national, sentenced to 70 lashes of the whip for sending written communications to his ex-wife, has appealed the verdict at the Court of Cassation.

The District Court in Buraidah made the ruling after the man sent 181 communications to the mother of his seven children who had divorced him through the pre-nuptial agreed stipulation called "khula", after which he was also prohibited from having contact with his children without obtaining prior official permission.

The defendant claimed in court that the 181 messages were an attempt to win back his former wife and reunite his family after a separation of 14 years.
-- Okaz/SG

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