Saudi Arabia court ratifies guilty verdict on 75 year old women
On 25 August the court of Al-Shamli, north of Hail, found Mrs Khamisa Sawadi guilty of the charge of “khilwa” (mingling with two young men to whom she was not immediately related), and the higher court in Riyadh ratified their verdict. One of the two young men who was tried alongside Sawadi may face additional charges for filing a law suit against the religious police. This is in spite of the fact that in May the Court of Cassation refused to ratify the verdict and returned the case to Al-Shamli court with several observations on the previous verdict, including the rejection of her breastfeeding claim and the fact that she is old.
Khamisa Sawadi had been sentenced to 4 months in prison and 40 lashes and will be deported and forbidden from entering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia again. One male defendant has been sentenced to 6 months in prison and 60 lashes. The court rejected the defendant’s explanation that one of the male defendants was her son because she breastfed him when he was a baby. The court also accused the defendants of attacking the ‘Committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice’, and for insulting them.
In April 2008 Sawadi met two 24-year-old men after she asked them to bring her five loaves of bread. The two men, Al-Anzi, Sawadi’s late husband’s nephew, and bin Zein, al-Anzi’s business partner, were also arrested by religious police and found guilty and sentenced to prison terms and lashes. The court based its decision on ‘citizen information’ and testimony for al-Anzi’s father, who accused Sawadi of corruption. Furthermore, the verdict cited the fact that Sawadi is not a Saudi national – although she was married to a Saudi man – and that she was without a husband as evidence of her guilt. Following the implementation of her sentence, Sawadi will face deportation.
See also: Saudi Arabia: Imprisonment and Whipping of 75 year-old Woman http://wluml.org/english/actionsupdates.shtml?cmd=i-136-34117db0605eb1cc770b1383f5d517fe