Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Saudi woman journalist sentenced to 60 lashes

Director's Comments:

CDHR denounces the Jeddah Summary Court and its presiding religious extremist Judge, Muhammad Amin Mirdad, for sentencing journalist Rosanna Al-Yami (R.A) to sixty flogs for doing her job. According to Saudi and global media outlets, R.A. “…was accused of being an accomplice to Abdul Jawad (Saudi male citizen) who provoked a furor because he boasted on TV about having premarital sex, provided explicit sexual descriptions and described how to pick up girls and women, “ Arabnews. “Imagine how busy the courts and public squares would be if every person in free societies where freedoms of speech and expression are protected under the rule of law are convicted and sentenced to flogging because they boasted about dating and sexual activities,” Said Dr. Ali Alyami, Director of the Washington based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi religious courts (rule of law and freedom of expression are considered an immoral Western invention, therefore antithesis to Islamic teachings) and their mostly ultra conservative (extremist) judges issue arbitrary and severe sentencing based on their mood, religious orientation and preconceived notions. The courts use these same standards to determine methods of punishment that may have very little to do with the case at hand, with the intention of sending chilling messages to those who dare think out of the box. Public flogging is the most humiliating form of punishment and is administered with the intention of reminding people that they are perpetual minors incapable of being in charge of their own lives and actions. Verdicts and summary sentencing in Saudi courts are not designed to fit the actions or crimes at hand, but to create an all-encompassing and enduring fear of the system’s heavy handedness. Abdul Jawad, the primary bragger has been sentenced to 1,000 flogging and a 5 year term of imprisonment.

As the birth place of Islam, home to its holy shrines (in Mecca and Medina) and promoter of an austere interpretation of the Quran and Shariah Law, the Saudi establishment plays an influential role in Muslims lives and the perception they have of themselves as well as non-Muslims. What happens in Saudi courts resonates throughout Muslim communities. Sentencing the Saudi female journalist, R. A. to 60 floggings in a public square is not because she was an accomplice to a minor event, but to intimidate other Saudi journalists and the public in general into total submission to the rule of the jungle carried out by men whose ultimate goal is total control over people’s lives in the name of God.

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