A brief update on the “Qatif girl”, the 19 year old woman who was sentenced to 90 and then 200 lashes and 6 months imprisonment following her gang rape, because the rape happened after she had been sitting in a car with a man (who was also kidnapped and raped along with her) who was not a relative of hers. See my posts here, here and here for more details.

The BBC and ABC are reporting that the king has pardoned the Qatif girl. There is no information about whether the man, who was also sentenced to 90 lashes, has been pardoned. The Saudi justice ministry’s official position is that this pardon does not affect the justice or legality of the conviction and sentence. Apparently the king is being criticised within Saudi Arabia for bending to “foreign interference”. Well yay for foreign interference, and boo for the Saudi justice ministry.

Meanwhile, I had a fairly prompt response from my MP when I wrote asking what the government position is on this case, expressing appropriate shock and dismay about the case and saying that he had written to David Milliband to answer the actual question. I have not heard anything more. Not yet.