Rape in Saudi Arabia

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Rape in Saudi Arabia has been researched by various observers and entities. In 2002, sexual offences stood at 0.3 rapes per 100,000 population.[1][2] Under Sharia law, a law generally enforced by the Islamic states (Islamic Law), punishment imposed by the court on the rapist may range from flogging to execution. However, there is no penal code in Saudi Arabia and there is no written law which specifically criminalizes rape or prescribes its punishment. If the rape victim first entered the rapist's company in violation of purdah, she also stands to be punished by the law's current holdings.[3] In addition, there is no prohibition against marital rape or statutory rape.

In Saudi Arabia, rape cases usually target both the defendant and the victim,[4] and in some cases, the victim can be sentenced to even harsher punishment than the assailant. [3]


Human Rights Watch has investigated the situation, and their report concludes that the rape victim is punished when they speak out against the crime. In one case, the victim's sentence was doubled for speaking out; the court also harassed the victim's lawyer, going so far as to confiscate his professional license.[5]

In 2009, the Saudi Gazette reported that a 23-year-old, unmarried woman was sentenced to one year in prison and 100 lashes for adultery. This woman had been gang-raped, became pregnant, and had tried (unsuccessfully) to abort the fetus. The flogging was postponed until after the delivery.[6]

The sentences for rape cases are also extremely unbalanced in Saudi Arabia. In one example from February 2013, a Saudi preacher raped, tortured and murdered his 5-year-old daughter. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, 800 lashes, and a fine of one million riyals ($270,000 USD) to be paid to the girl's mother, his ex-wife.[7] Contrasted with this is the case of two Pakistani citizens who were beheaded by the state after being convicted of a rape.[8]

Absence of evidence[edit]

It has been pointed that the loose trial rules, as well as the physical evidences, are not presented or declined due to lack of witnesses. Furthermore, Sharia law allows defendants to reject signed confessions.[9]

Lawyer Abdul-Aziz al-Gassem told that Sharia law allows the defendants to deny any signed confession, he further adds that "The lack of transparency in the investigation, the trial and the sentencing, plus the difficulties that journalists have to get access lead to deep a darkness where everything is possible."[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James Sheptycki; Ali Wardak; James Hardie-Bick (2005). Transnational and Comparative Criminology. Routledge Cavendish. p. 95. ISBN 1-904385-05-2.
  2. ^ S. Malby, S. Harrendorf,M. Heiskanen (2010). United Nations Office on Drugs And Crime(UNODC) (PDF). HEUNI Publication. p. 39. ISBN 978-952-5333-78-7.
  3. ^ a b "Rape case calls Saudi legal system into question". Today News. Associated Press. 2013. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Exclusive: Saudi Rape Victim Tells Her Story". ABC News. 2007.
  5. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Rape Victim Punished for Speaking Out". HRW. 2007.
  6. ^ Shabrawi, Adnan. "Girl gets a year in jail, 100 lashes for adultery". The Saudi Gazette. Archived from the original on 13 January 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  7. ^ "Fayhan al-Ghamdi, Saudi Preacher, Sentenced To 8 Years, 800 Lashes For Raping, Killing Daughter". Huffington Post. 2013.
  8. ^ "Two Pakistanis beheaded in Saudi for rape". The Independent. 2010.
  9. ^ http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15836746/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/rape-case-calls-saudi-legal-system-question/
  10. ^ "Rape case calls Saudi legal system into question". Today. 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-09-14.

Further reading[edit]