As journalist Mary Kay Blakely pointed out many years ago, sometimes there simply aren’t two sides to a story. That is most certainly true in the case of the 19 year old victim of a gang rape who was recently sentenced by a Saudi court to 6 months in jail and 200 lashes. Her crime? Riding in a car with men who were not her relatives. There cannot be any acceptable cultural or legal justification for the violation of human rights, even when the country committing the violation is a U.S. ally.
CNN apparently didn’t get that memo if their recent “Saudi: Why We Punished Rape Victim” is any indication. According to the report, the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. told CNN that Saudi Arabia,
“welcomes constructive criticism and insisted that the parties’ rights were preserved in the judicial process.”We would like to state that the system has ensured them the right to object to the ruling and to request an appeal,” the statement continued, “without resorting to sensationalism through the media that may not be fair or may not grant anyone any rights, and instead may negatively affect all the other parties involved in the case.”
The statement also described the progress of the woman’s case and explained that it was heard by a panel of three judges, not one judge “as mentioned in some media reports.””
“It said the case was treated normally through regular court procedures, and that the woman, her male companion and the perpetrators of the crime all agreed in court to the sentences handed down.””
And their other choice would have been???
The article goes on to say that U.S. officials have expressed dismay, but not directly to the Saudis. Gee, that is helpful.
“White House homeland security adviser Frances Townsend, who announced her resignation Monday, called the case “absolutely reprehensible” but told CNN’s “American Morning” the Saudis deserve credit for their assistance in battling terrorism. “This case is separate and apart from that, and I just don’t think there’s any explaining it or justifying it,” she added.”
Um, right. Leaving aside that we bombed Afghanistan even though most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and that has never caused our oil-lusting friendship for the Saudis to waiver, here’s a newsflash for CNN and the White House: Gang rape is terrorism. Punishing the victim of rape is terrorism. But I guess since she didn’t have any oil to bargain with, it doesn’t count.