Justice Is Strange

A strange case has eventually being vindicated through the intervention of Saudi Arabia's King. The case happened in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. A 19-year-old woman was robbed and raped by seven men when she was in a car with a male friend (apparently, they did not have any intimate contact).

The case was brought to court and the seven rapists were sentenced to prison terms of between 10 months and five years. The victim herself was also sentenced to 90 lashes of the whip. Her punishment, was however, increased to 200 lashes and six months in jail after she made an appeal.

Her offence was being in a car with a man to whom she was not married to. This case resulted in a global uproar with human rights groups championing the victim. Western leaders including US President Bush were concerned about the case.

"Why press the unnecessary charges if he knew this earlier?"

However, the country's Ministry of Justice had defended the woman's punishment, claiming that the law was fair. At this stage, only the King has the authority to change the court decision, which he did. However, the King emphasised that he did not doubt the judge's judgement. Instead, he pardoned the woman in the “interest of the people”.

Honestly, I do not understand the King's intention. Fair legal justice is supposed to go hand in hand with the public interest. Public interest should be protected if the law and judges are fair and impartial. The King was in a dilemma as he would have to uphold the law and at the same time, to look after the people’s interest. I wonder what would the King do if similar incident happened again in the future.

Anyway, the international image of Saudi Arabia and the trauma of the women were irreparable. Back to our country, the attorney general charged 31 Indian who joined the Hindraf mass demonstrations for attempted murder.

The whole country was surprised at that time. How could such charges be formed? How could this convince the people? Fortunately, the charges were dropped.

The attorney general explained that dropping the charges was the fairest thing to do because the prosecution could not identify who threw bricks at that time. Why press the unnecessary charges if he knew this earlier? And why did he allow these people to be detained for over 10 days?

This does not help the image for the government and the attorney general's office. Who should these 31 people now look to for justice as some of them lost their jobs while others are facing deteriorating health problems?

What would the attorney general do if similar incident happened again in the future? (By TAY TIAN YAN/ Sin Chew Daily)