Rape in Saudi Arabia
|Effects and motivations|
Rape in Saudi Arabia has been researched by various observers and entities. In 2002, sexual offences stood at 0.3 rapes per 100,000 population. Under Sharia law, which serves as the basis for the legal system of Saudi Arabia, a law generally enforced by the Islamic states (Islamic Law), punishment imposed by the court on the rapist may range from flogging to execution. However, there is no penal code in Saudi Arabia and there is no written law which specifically criminalizes rape or prescribes its punishment. If the rape victim first entered the rapist's company in violation of purdah, she also stands to be punished by the law's current holdings. In addition, there is no prohibition against marital rape or statutory rape.
Human Rights Watch has investigated the situation, and their report concludes that the rape victim is punished when they speak out against the crime. In one case, the victim's sentence was doubled for speaking out; the court also harassed the victim's lawyer, going so far as to confiscate his professional license.
However, it has also been acknowledged that Shariah law, which punishes rapists, serves as the basis of the country's legal system. However the shariah does not include that women nor men be punished when they are a victim of rape.
In 2009, the Saudi Gazette reported that a 23-year-old, unmarried woman was sentenced to one year in prison and 100 lashes for adultery. This woman had been gang-raped, became pregnant, and had tried (unsuccessfully) to abort the fetus. The flogging was postponed until after the delivery.
The sentences for rape cases are also extremely unbalanced in Saudi Arabia. In one example from February 2013, a Saudi preacher raped, tortured and murdered his 5-year-old daughter. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, 800 lashes, and a fine of one million riyals ($270,000 USD) to be paid to the girl's mother, his ex-wife. Contrasted with this is the case of two Pakistani citizens who were beheaded by the state after being convicted of a rape.
Absence of evidence
It has been pointed that the loose trial rules, as well as the physical evidences, are not presented or declined due to lack of witnesses. Furthermore, Sharia law allows defendants to reject signed confessions.
Lawyer Abdul-Aziz al-Gassem told that Sharia law allows the defendants to deny any signed confession, he further adds that "The lack of transparency in the investigation, the trial and the sentencing, plus the difficulties that journalists have to get access lead to deep a darkness where everything is possible."
- Campaign Against Lebanese Rape Law - Article 522
- Qatif rape case - Gang rape case, around 2006
- Women's rights in Saudi Arabia
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