Monday, October 26, 2009
Saudi Court Orders 60 Lashes for 22-Year-Old Female Journalist; King Abdullah Waives the Sentence After Intense International Media Attention
The Associated Press reported that a court in Jedda, Saudi Arabia sentenced Rozanna al-Yami, a 22-year-old female journalist, to 60 lashes after she was charged with promoting a television program in which a Saudi man talked about sex. Ms. Yami said that she had worked as a coordinator for the program "Bold Red Line" but had not worked on this particular episode. See 60 Lashes Ordered for Saudi Woman, N.Y. Times, Oct. 25, 2009, sec. 1, at 11. The prosecutor in that case had called for even harsher punishment. Click here to a link to Arab News (Middle East English Language Daily).
The man in that television show, Mazen Abdul-Jawad, was a divorced Saudi father of four children. He was sentenced to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes. He had described having an active sex life and showed sex toys, which the station blurred. The New York Times said that the program "scandalized this conservative country."
Three other men who appeared on the show were also convicted of discussing sex publicly and were reportedly sentenced to two years imprisonment and 300 lashes each.
The program in question was broadcast in July on the Lebanese Satellite Channel LBC. The Saudi government also closed down LBC's two offices in Saudi Arabia.
About 8 hours ago there were reports that King Abdullah had waived the sentence of 60 lashes. In November 2007, King Abdullah had waived a flogging sentence of 90 lashes that was imposed upon a rape victim who was alone in a car with an unrelated man shortly before the two were attacked.