New ministry statement on Qatif case



The statement, which the ministry says is a response to media scrutiny of the ruling, said that the rape victim confessed to having an illegal affair with the man who was caught with her.

“She went out with him without a mahram, a legal guardian, and exchanged forbidden affairs through the illegal khalwa,” the statement said. “They both confessed to doing what God forbids.”

The ministry said: “The first verdict of 90 lashes was made according to Shariah. The woman and her husband were convinced and agreed to it on 10/10/1427.”

The statement refers to the first sentence issued by the Qatif General Court before the Higher Court of Justice increased the sentence last week to 200 lashes and six months in prison. The statement went on to accuse the woman and the man of causing the crime.

“They are the main cause of what happened, the woman and her companion, as they exposed themselves to this horrible crime and violated the rule of Shariah,” the statement said. “That’s why the sentences were increased for everyone due to the dangerous nature of the crime.”

The ministry also claimed that the woman violated the sanctity of marriage.

“She knows that ‘khalwa’ with an unrelated man is forbidden by Shariah and by doing this she has broken the sacred matrimonial contract,” the statement said.

“The woman mentioned in her signed confession that she called from her husband’s house using her cell phone asking for a forbidden ‘khalwa’ in front of a shopping center,” the statement said.

The matrimonial contract that the ministry refers to is known as “qiran”. In Saudi Arabia the “qiran” is viewed as a contract of betrothal, similar to marriage except that the woman and man must live with their families until they come out to society with an official wedding ceremony.

Arab News learned yesterday that the rape victim and her betrothed had signed a “qiran” contract; they have never lived together as husband and wife.

The sentence of the two rape victims is based on the Saudi interpretation of “khalwa”, the principle that an unrelated man and woman cannot be in seclusion together. The interpretation of “khalwa” under Saudi law — which judges say is the proper interpretation of the Sunnah — includes unrelated men and women being together even in public. The judicial interpretation of “khalwa” in Saudi Arabia also includes an unrelated man and woman inside a vehicle.

The ministry claimed the woman was “in a state of indecency, having thrown off her clothes” and the two were abducted in a “dark side of the (Qatif) corniche” by the attackers after they saw the couple in this alleged state of indecency.

The woman’s lawyer, Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, had said in a previous interview with Arab News that the police investigation records states that the two victims were abducted in a public place, in front of a shopping mall.

The statement claimed that the two victims of the gang rape hid the incident for three months until an e-mail was sent to the woman’s betrothed “informing him what happened to his wife, and her betrayal.”

A source close to the case that wishes to remain anonymous told Arab News that no e-mail was sent and that the woman’s betrothed didn’t find out about the crime until he was told by his friends that the rapists were bragging about the crime in the small community of Qatif.

At the end of its statement, the Ministry of Justice directly addressed the media scrutiny of the case.

“Any judicial sentence in any case is not made until the judges have proof hearing from all parties, and all needed details, investigations and confessions,” said the statement. “We are sorry that some media have been circulating news about the woman’s role in the case, stirring up wrong information and wrongfully defending the woman, which has raised doubts on the course of the case.”


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