Saudis: 40 Lashes for 75-Year Old

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CBNNews.com - CAIRO - A Saudi judge has sentenced a 75-year old widow to 40 lashes, four months in prison and deportation after serving time.

Syrian-born Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, who was married to a Saudi, was convicted of "mingling" with two young men who were not her immediate relatives, though one is her late husband's nephew, whom she considers a son, having nursed him as a baby.

The court rejected her testimony, saying she didn't provide adequate proof.

According to Saudi religious police, the two 24-year-old men, her nephew Fahd al-Anzi and Hadiyan bin Zein, his business partner, were guilty of delivering bread to her home.

The court also convicted al-Anzi and bin Zein and sentenced them to 60 lashes and prison terms.

Under sharia (Islamic) law, women are not permitted to be outside the home without a male guardian, who must be a close relative.

Women are also forbidden to drive, wear makeup, play music, dance or watch movies.

Sawadi's attorney, Abdel Rahman al-Lahem, plans to appeal her conviction, but declined to provide further details.

Saudi journalist Bandar al-Ammar, who reported the story in al-Watan, said he wrote the story "so everybody knows to what degree we have reached."

Saudi King Abdullah recently dismissed the head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a police unit that patrols public places to ensure that sharia is strictly enforced.

Shop owners must close their businesses five times a day, when men are required to be in the mosques.

In 2007, a Saudi court sentenced a woman who had been gang-raped to 200 lashes and six months in prison.

Widespread international condemnation prompted Saudi King Abdullah to commute her sentence.

Source: The Associated Press

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