Monday, December 17, 2007

Saudi King Pardons Rape VICTIM

Abdullah reportedly spares woman in sex-assault case from jail and lashes

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has pardoned a female rape victim who had been sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes for being alone with a man who was not related to her, a Saudi newspaper reported Monday.

...The victim in the case, known only as the "Girl of Qatif" after her hometown in eastern Saudi Arabia, was in a car with a man in 2006 when they were attacked and raped by seven men.

She was initially sentenced in November 2006 to several months in prison and 90 lashes for being alone in a car with a man with whom she was neither related nor married, a violation of the kingdom's strict segregation of the sexes.

The woman, who was 19 at the time of the rape, has said she met the man to retrieve a picture of herself from him because she had recently married.

The case sparked international outcry, especially after the court more than doubled the sentence last month to 200 lashes and six months prison in response to her appeal.

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Yep, Saudi Arabia sure does have a HUGE public relations problem with the rest of the world. A few of their nasty bits of business:

"Death of a Princess" - This story, which generally went around as a girl who willingly accepted to die rather than compromise over a love she felt for a boy, that touched buttons. It's a crucifixion story. It has that same sort of resonance. And that stirred things in people. And that was what the film was about, was about that stirring. At the same time, it was trying to find the girl herself. Who was she?

Saudi Arabia: Religious Police Role in School Fire Criticized - Eyewitnesses, including civil defense officers, reported that several members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (mutawwa'in, in Arabic) interfered with rescue efforts because the fleeing students were not wearing the obligatory public attire (long black cloaks and head coverings) for Saudi girls and women.

...The report noted that mutawwa'in were at the school's main gate and, "intentionally obstructed the efforts to evacuate the girls. This resulted in the increased number of casualties."

The religious police reportedly tried to block the entry of Civil Defense officers into the building. "We told them that the situation was dangerous and it was not the time to discuss religious issues, but they refused and started shouting at us," Arab News quoted Civil Defense officers as saying.

"Whenever the girls got out through the main gate, these people forced them to return via another. Instead of extending a helping hand for the rescue work, they were using their hands to beat us," Civil Defense officers were quoted as saying.

The officers also said they saw three people beating girls who had evacuated the school without proper dress. A Saudi journalist told Human Rights Watch that the mutawwa'in at the scene also turned away parents and other residents who came to assist.

Sex slave trafficking in Saudi Arabia - Today the State Department released a list of countries that are not doing enough to prevent international trafficking of people, especially women and children. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, who has previously led the efforts to track and punish international human traffickers, urged immediate action by the State Department to insure that countries, including some U.S. allies, take responsibility for putting an end to this horrific practice of buying and selling women and children.

...Sen. Schumer continued, “I am particularly disturbed that Saudi Arabia, according to today’s report, ‘does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, particularly its failure to protect victims and prosecute those guilty of involuntary servitude.’”

“This only serves to strengthen the arguments many have made that this Administration is too close to the Saudi government and has not held them accountable to the most basic standards of humanity,” Schumer concluded.

Anti-Americanism in Saudi Arabia - Several developments have contributed to the rise of anti-Americanism in Saudi Arabia since the end of the Cold War, including the steady growth of American influences on Saudi society and mores and the decline of common external threats. There were also a series of events that highlighted or symbolized two realities in conflict with the Kingdom's self-concept as the hub of Islam: dependence on the United States for external security, and American cultural influence. These events include the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91, the second Palestinian intifada, the terror attacks of September 11, and the second American war with Iraq.

Saudi Schools Indoctrinate Their Children with Hate : ...However, these textbooks are part of the official curriculum for Saudi students and are a fundamental part of their education. Approximately 35% of school studies is devoted to compulsory Saudi religious education. (For more on Saudi religious education, see FRONTLINE's interviews with Ali al-Ahmed, Mai Yamani, and Hassan Youssef Yassin.).

SOME EXAMPLES FROM SAUDI SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS:

"The last hour won't come before the Muslims would fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them so Jews would hide behind rocks and trees. Then the rocks and tree would call: oh Muslim, oh servant of God! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only "Gharkad" tree, it is of Jews' trees."

"It's fate decided by Allah that the Muslims and Jews will fight till the end of the world."

"The Hadith predicts for the Muslims God's victory over the Jews."

"The opposition of God and his Apostle and the opposition of His Sharia- is a reason for retribution of Allah that is what happened to the Jews of Ibn-Nadhir. God Says: "That is because they acted in opposition to Allah and His Apostle, and whoever acts in opposition to Allah, then surely Allah is severe in retributing (evil)"

"It's allowed to demolish, burn or destroy the bastions of the Kufar (infidels)- and all what constitutes their shield from Muslims if that was for the sake of victory for the Muslims and the defeat for the Kufar."

The Kingdom of Corruption - The Saudi Connection: But Wahhabism remains the state religion of Saudi Arabia, imported with petro-dollars to fund extremism elsewhere in the world. During the war against the Soviet Union, Pakistani military intelligence requested the presence of a Saudi prince to lead the jihad in Afghanistan. No volunteers were forthcoming and the Saudi leaders recommended the scion of a rich family, close to the monarchy. Ossama Bin Laden was despatched to the Pakistan border and arrived in time to hear President Carter's National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brezinski, turban on head, shout: "Allah is on your side."

The religious schools in Pakistan where the Taliban were created were funded by the Saudis and Wahhabi influence was very strong. Last year when the Taliban decided to blow up the old Buddhas there were appeals from the ancient seminaries of Qom and al-Azhar to desist on the grounds that Islam was tolerant. A Wahhabi delegation from the Kingdom advised the Taliban to execute the plan. They did. The Wahhabi insistence on a permanent jihad against all enemies, Muslim and non-Muslim, was to leave a deep mark on the young boys who later took Kabul. The attitude of the United States in those days was sympathetic. A Republican Party packed with Christian cults could hardly offer advice on this matter and both Clinton and Blair were keen on advertising their Christianity.

The Corruption of Corporate America By The House of Saud - This site is dedicated to the Royal House of Saud, and to the web of corruption it has spun around corporate America. And while it has become evident, even without those secret excerpts from the official U.S. Government 9/11 Report, that the House of Saud has been instrumental in the spread of hateful Wahhabism, that is not the main theme of this web page. The purpose of this site is to open up the discussion on an even more insidious aspect of the corrupt House of Saud, that is the influence it holds within the highest levels of the U.S. Government and American corporations.

Odor of Corruption Over Saudi "Contract of the Century" - Last year, Tony Blair, then still prime minister, blocked an investigation of financial embezzlement involving the Saudi royal family in the negotiation of this fabulous contract. The investigation had begun in 2004 and established that BAE had transferred a billion pounds sterling (1.4 billion euros) to the private account of Prince Bandar, who was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington for twenty years, and another billion pounds to the Swiss accounts of other royal family members. The British Serious Fraud Office (SFO), a theoretically independent agency, was not authorized to pursue its investigations.

London has succeeded in keeping a lid on this scandal, to finally end up signing this contract.

The Corner House and CAAT win landmark ruling on BAE-Saudi corruption case - This past Friday, 9 November 2007, just before 1 pm, two High Court judges granted permission to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and The Corner House for a full judicial review hearing against the UK Government's decision in December last year to cut short a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into alleged corruption by BAE Systems in recent arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

U.K. politician to boycott official Saudi visit to protest handling of corruption probe - The acting leader of a British opposition party said Sunday he will boycott a state visit by Saudi King Abdullah to protest the handling of a British investigation into claims that members of the Saudi royal family received kickbacks as part of a massive arms deal. It begins Monday and is to include a banquet held by the Queen Elizabeth II in his honor at Buckingham Palace.

... "I have introduced three debates in Parliament this year expressing serious concerns over the al-Yamamah contract and the corruption allegedly involved. I have, in my arguments, also been very critical of members of the Saudi royal family and the Saudi record on human rights, including its maltreatment of British citizens," the letter said.

"In my opinion, it is quite wrong for the British government to have proposed a state visit at this time. Therefore, it would, I believe, be inappropriate for me to participate in a ceremonial state visit against this background."

Human rights in Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia is one of a number of countries where courts continue to impose corporal punishment, including amputations of hands and feet for robbery, and lashings for lesser crimes such as "sexual deviance" and drunkenness.

...In 2002, the United Nations Committee against Torture criticized Saudi Arabia over the amputations and floggings it carries out under its interpretation of Sharia.

...Saudi Arabia also engages in capital punishment, including public executions by beheading and stoning. While some are also executed in private by firing squad, many executions are popular public attractions.

...Individuals accused of crimes are not provided with representation, and according to Amnesty International, some defendants are convicted based on confessions obtained under duress, torture or deception.

...Saudi women face severe discrimination in many aspects of their lives, including education, employment, and the justice system and are clearly regarded as inferior to men. Although they make up 70% of those enrolled in universities, women make up just 5% of the workforce in Saudi Arabia, the lowest proportion in the world. The treatment of women has been referred to as "gender apartheid."

...In the legal system, women face discrimination as the criminal laws of Saudi Arabia adhere to strict Islamic precepts. The testimony of a woman is not regarded as fact but as presumption.

As a result of these laws women are particularly vulnerable in cases of assault and/or rape, as their testimony is treated as a presumption, while that of their attackers is accepted as fact. In some cases, victims of sexual assault are punished on the grounds that they should not be alone with unrelated males.

Women are not allowed to drive or ride bicycles on public roads in large cities.

Women cannot be admitted to a hospital, examined by a doctor, travel abroad or leave the house without the express permission and/or company of an immediate male relative.

After their first menstrual cycle, women must cover their entire body in a long black cloak (abaaya) as according to tradition. Failing to do so results in severe punishment. Foreign women are also expected to wear abaya, violators may face caning, harassment or fines.

Women are forbidden from voting.

"Freedom of religion does not exist," the U.S. State Department's 1997 Human Rights Report on Saudi Arabia states. "Islam is the official religion, and all citizens must be Muslims. The government prohibits the public practice of other religions." However, at the U.N. Third Millennium Summit in New York City, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz defended Saudi Arabia's position on human rights, saying "It is absurd to impose on an individual or a society rights that are alien to its beliefs or principles."

Saudis prepare to behead teenage maid - Human rights campaigners yesterday urged the authorities not to behead a 19-year-old Sri Lankan maid found guilty of killing a baby in her care.

According to the Saudi authorities, Rizana Nafeek admitted strangling the four-month-old boy while feeding him with a bottle.

But Nafeek, whose job was not meant to include child care, has denied making any such admission. She claims the child had begun to choke before losing consciousness in spite of her desperate efforts to clear his airway.

Tonight is the deadline for appeals in the case. Unless the Saudi authorities change the sentence or the parents of the victim offer clemency, Nafeek will have her head cut off by an executioner wielding a sword in front of a crowd of onlookers.

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On September 11, 2001, 15 out of the 19 hijackers who carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were Saudi citizens.

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