In an act that redefined barbarism and inhuman behavior, a court in Saudi Arabia sentenced a 13-year-old Saudi schoolgirl to 90 lashes and minimum 2 months of imprisonment after she was caught with a mobile phone with an in-built camera, a gadget which is banned in girls’ schools. The girl, whose name has not been revealed, was sentenced in front of her classmates in her school.
The Islamic Kingdom’s use of such a punishment has attracted a lot of wrath and wide condemnation from the human rights organizations. In 2006, a Saudi teen-aged girl was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months imprisonment after she was the victim of a gang rape! The court had originally sentenced the 19 year old to 90 lashes, but increased the punishment, reasoning that the woman had tried to use the media to influence the court. More horrifying was the fact that the judge sentenced the female victim to more lashes than the rapists. A court had sentenced the rapists to a meager jail terms of between 10 months and five years only.
In March, 2002, at least fourteen schoolgirls were burnt alive at a school in Saudi Arabia after religious police blocked them from fleeing a fire. The religious police explained that the girls could not leave because they were not in a correct Islamic dress. Saudi Arabia has appointed religious police, known as mutaween, to patrol public places to strictly enforce the Kingdom’s marque of ultra-conservative Islam. In February, 2008 the mutaween arrested a Saudi psychologist for having coffee with a female student. He was sentenced to 180 lashes for the act.
Any interaction between unrelated Saudi men and women is severely restricted and an illegal act under the strict Islamic moral code. In an April, 2008 report, Human Rights Watch authenticated that the Saudi women require to obtain permission from a male guardian before they can do a host of day-to-day activities, such as education, employment, travel, or even receiving medical care. The report iterated the negative consequences for women if guardians – fathers, husbands, brothers or even male children – refuse to give such permission.