[RIYADH, SAU-D(OM)I A-RAPIA]: In his most benevolent act of the year, King Abdullah took time from falcon-hunting and camel-racing to pardon a gang-rape victim. The young woman had earlier been sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes for being alone with a man not related to her.
In late 2006, the recently-married, 19-year old victim, who became known as the 'Girl of Qatif' was in a car with a man she knew in an attempt to retrieve a picture of herself. They were attacked by seven (extremely sexually-repressed, horny) men who raped both of them
The girl was initially sentenced to several months in prison and 90 lashes for 'being alone in a car with a man with whom she was neither related nor married" - which was a violation of the kingdom's strict segregation of the sexes.
Upon appeal her sentence was increased to 6 months in prison and 200 lashes.
Justice Minister Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Sheik said the pardon does not mean the king was questioning the wisdom of the country's pious judges. His Highness was simply acting in the "interests of the people."
"The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair," al-Sheik said, according to the Al-Jazirah newspaper.
The minister acknowledged that usually such victims often died as a result of such brutal punishment - in which case their death would absolve them of any 'sin'.
"It's very much like what you American Christians used to do in the 17th century with the Witches of Salem", he added.
But faced with international outrage and condemnation and conscious of its 'poor image in the US, the King issued this royal pardon as a "special Christmas gift to his good buddy George "Dubya" Bush".
For his part, the burned-out Bush expressed pleasure that "this action had occurred". Mr. Bush had earlier expressed the obligatory outrage saying, "Uhhh...My first thoughts were...uhhh..what happens if this...uhh... happens to my daughter...How would I react? And...uhhh.. I would have been -- uhh, I'd of been very emotional, of course. I'd uhhh, have been angry at those who committed the crime. And uhhh. I'd be...uhhh... angry at a state that didn't...uhhh.. support the victim." [Yeah, right Bushie].
Happily, the twin Bushettes reminded Daddy that their Secret Service men, "Duhh...would, like never like...uhh.. allow them to like, be umm...caught with (their) like...skirts up"