Saudi Arabia: al-Lahem

On November 15, 2007 a court in Saudi Arabia reviewed the sentences passed against a 19-year-old woman, known as "The Girl from al-Qatif", and her male companion. The woman and her male companion had been convicted in 2006 of being alone in private with a member of the opposite sex who was not an immediate family member. Their original sentence of 90 lashes was increased to 200 lashes and a 6 month prison term.

 

Shortly after they met in 2006, a gang of seven men kidnapped at knifepoint the woman and her male companion. Members of the gang raped the woman. Members of the gang were convicted of kidnapping and rape in November 2006. Four members of the gang were at the time sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to five years. They were also sentenced to flogging of between 80 and 1000 lashes. All seven recently also had their prison terms increased to between two and nine years.

 

Lawyer Abdul Rahman al-Lahem took the case of The Girl from al-Qatif to an appeals court, and a revised sentence was rendered in November. The judge immediately removed al-Lahem from the case and confiscated his license to practice law. The Judicial Investigation Department of the Ministry of Justice then summoned al-Lahem to a disciplinary hearing in December 2007, apparently to face charges that he allegedly advertises his services in violation of Saudi regulations.

 

In January 2008, the Law Society sent letters of intervention to the authorities in Saudi Arabia.

 

Letter of Intervention