Having recently watched the Saudi King visit Britain and be duly entertained by both Gordon Brown and the Queen, I thought that it was interesting that little more than two weeks had passed before this story emerged…

Saudi gang-rape victim is jailed
An appeal court in Saudi Arabia increases the sentence on a teenage gang-rape victim.

BBC News Online, 15 November 2007

An appeal court in Saudi Arabia has doubled the number of lashes and added a jail sentence as punishment for a woman who was gang-raped.

The victim was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes – she was in an unrelated man’s car at the time of the attack.

When she appealed, the judges said she had been attempting to use the media to influence them.

The attackers’ sentences – originally of up to five years – were doubled.

According to the Arab News newspaper, the 19-year-old woman was gang-raped 14 times in an attack in the eastern province a year-and-a-half ago.

Having read this, I felt disgusted when I came across this news article from the Independent.

Brown ‘did not discuss rights’
Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
2 November 2007

Gordon Brown did not raise alleged human right abuses in Saudi Arabia during his talks this week with King Abdullah, the Saudi Foreign Minister confirmed yesterday.

“We haven’t talked of human rights,” Prince Saud al-Faisal told Sky News. “Human rights is the responsibility for the government of its own people, not of other governments. We are doing what our people expect us to do.”

Good to see that Gord if not Liz is being true to his word – about five weeks prior to the visit by the Saudis, Mr Brown was telling the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth that:

“the age of impunity and over-riding human rights is over”.

Calling Burma’s government an “illegitimate and repressive regime”, Mr Brown said: “The whole issue of sanctions is going to take on a new dimension.”

He called for UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari to be sent to Burma, to “make sure that the Burmese regime directly is aware that any trampling of human rights that takes place will have the whole eyes of the world upon them and will not be acceptable in future”.

Mr Brown said: “I want to see all the pressures of the world put on this regime now – sanctions, the pressure of the UN, pressure from China and all the countries in the region, India, pressure from the whole of the world.”
Brown urges UN action over Burma
BBC News Online, 26 September 2007

That’s a clear and consistent message then…


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