A Saudi court has sentenced a gang rape victim to 90 lashes of the whip because she was alone in a car with a man to whom she was not married.
The sentence was passed at the end of a trial in which the al- Qateef high criminal court convicted four Saudis convicted of the rape, sentencing them to prison terms and a total of 2,230 lashes.
The four, all married, were sentenced respectively to five years and 1,000 lashes, four years and 800 lashes, four years and 350 lashes, and one year and 80 lashes.
A fifth, married, man who was stated to have filmed the rape on his mobile phone still faces investigation. Two others alleged to have taken part in the rape evaded capture.
Saudi courts take marital status into account in sexual crimes. A male friend of the rape victim was also sentenced to 90 lashes for being alone with her in the car.
The court heard that the victim and her friend were followed by the assailants to their car, kidnapped and taken to a remote farm, where the raping occurred.
The victim was quoted by Okaz newspaper as saying she had expected harsher penalties for the assailants, especially as they had pleaded not guilty.
Her husband and family said that they would appeal to the court Saturday for harsher penalties for a crime which has shocked public opinion in Saudi Arabia and been the subject of months of debate.
In the parallel universe of the BBC and the slightly less fictional Spooks, the British government and its Jewish Cabinet minister want to trust these people with nuclear power, whilst Israel is vilified for trying to stop them. The thin line between reality and fiction becomes ever more blurred...