RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — A gang-rape victim who was sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes for being alone with a man not related to her was pardoned by the Saudi king after the case sparked rare criticism from the United States, the kingdom's top ally.
With the pardon, Abdullah appeared to be aiming at relieving the pressure from the United States without being seen to criticize Saudi Arabia's conservative legal system, a stronghold of powerful clerics adhering to the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.
Justice Minister Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Sheik said the pardon reported Monday by Saudi media does not mean the king doubted the country's judges, but that he was acting in the "interests of the people."
"We're very pleased by the decision that was taken by the king, and we certainly hope it will send a signal to the Saudi judiciary," deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters. "We certainly hope it will send a signal to the Saudi judiciary.
"The king's order consolidates and confirms what is known about the Islamic courts," al-Sheik told Al-Jazirah. "Efficient judges look into different cases and issue their just verdicts and those convicted have the right to appeal."
Double Speak coming from Saudi Arabia? Looks like it from here. WHERE is the National Organization for Women? Where is Speaker Pelosi's outrage? Why hsa no group of women protested the original decision of the Saudi Justice (word used loosely) System? A Photo Here.