Woman Journalist Punished With 60 Lashes

Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) October 30, 2009 -- Rozanne al-Yami,22, female journalist has been sentenced by a Saudi court to 60 lashes, after blaming her, for her involvement in a television show, in which a Saudi man freely discussed sex.

Al-Yami has denied working on the sex-show episode, even though she worked as a coordinator for the television station. "I am too frustrated and upset to appeal the sentence," she said.

The program, which aired in July on the Lebanese LBC satellite channel, showed Mazen Abdul-Jawad describing an active sex life and displaying sex toys that were blurred by the station. The court sentenced Abdul-Jawad, who worked for the national airline, to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes. His lawyer, Sulaiman al-Jumeii, argues his client was fooled by the TV station and was unaware he was being recorded.

The government reacted immediately, shutting down LBC's two offices.

Three other men were also convicted of discussing sex publicly, when they appeared on the show, "Bold Red Line." They were sentenced to two years imprisonment and 300 lashes each.

After giving birth in July, to an illegitimate child, whose father was a British man, a Saudi Arabian Princess was secretly granted asylum. She claimed she would face the death penalty if she were forced to return home.

The woman says she met her English boyfriend - who is not a Muslim - during a visit to London. The following year she became pregnant and was worried that her older husband, who is a member of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia, had become suspicious of her behavior. She convinced him to let her visit the United Kingdom once more, so she could have the child in secret.

She feared that under Sharia law, both her and her child would be subject to capital punishment, which could include flogging and stoning, or an honour killing. Adulterers can also face beheadings, or hangings.

Last year in Saudi Arabia there were at least 102 executions of both men and women, which is an average of two every week.

In 2007, a woman from Qatif was condemned to 200 lashes and six months in prison after being gang-raped. She had supposedly offended cultural expectations when she got into a car with a former boyfriend, unaccompanied.

The man had agreed to give back a photograph of the woman, who was about to marry another man. As they drove along a street they were stopped and seized by seven men who raped both of them. Originally the woman was sentenced to 90 lashes and the sentence increased when she appealed. Eventually, after an international outcry, she was pardoned.

During a state visit to Britain in 2007 Saudi Arabia King Abdullah II was jeered as dozens of demonstrators turned out to protest his country's human rights record. The punishment of 60 lashes for the journalist has been waived by King Abdullah, following intense international media attention.

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Press Release Submitted On: October 30, 2009 at 12:25 am
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