What’s up with the National Society of Human Rights?

Is it strange to believe that a human rights organization would prioritize human rights? In the case of the five year old Lama who was tortured to death by her father, the NSHR seem to want to downplay both the crime and the judicial rulings. On the one hand, we have Itimad Al Sonaidi, an NSHR legal investigator, stating to the newspapers that there is no truth to the news reports that blood money had been offered. And on the other hand we have Khalid Al Fakhri, NSHR general director, denying that Lama had been sexually assaulted. Even Suhaila Zain Alabdeen, before strongly speaking out on the case and giving details was careful to have it made clear that she was on the news program as an activist and not as a member of the NSHR.

First, when it comes to whether or not Fayhan Al Ghamdi had raped his daughter, the social worker assigned to the case, Randa Al Kaleeb stated so in a phone interview with an investigative program host, Ali Al Olayani. And we have Dr. Mohammed Mahdi, the medical examiner in Lama’s case,  from the Forensic Medicine Department in Riyadh, who stated to Asharq Aawsat:

The offender committed all types of physical abuse on the victim as well as her exposure to sexual assault as a result of swelling in the region of the genitals and laceration in the anal area. There is ambiguity and secrets and the narrative is incomplete. In domestic abuse cases, injuries are usually afflicted over several months and not all in one bout. Also there is disparity in the type of injuries, from burns to those afflicted with sharp tools, along with the presence of strikes that take distinctive forms. All of these specifications have been identified on Lama’s body through the bruises and effects of burns and blows and led to them being afflicted with a thick electrical cable and a cane. These tools have been seized from the offenders home at the request of the Forensic Medicine Department as evidence. It’s Lama’s right that we reveal the truth of what happened to her.

Second, when blood money is offered and accepted then all maximum penalties are off the table. Over and over again, the courts have let fathers and husbands literally get away with murder by paying blood money and at most serving five to twelve years. I’ve given examples in my previous post, but I’ll give you another example that’s as recent as January 6th 2013. Wissam was a 13 year old to an Egyptian mother and a Saudi father. His mother came to Saudi as a 16 year old bride twenty years ago. Five years ago her husband divorced her and the torment began. It ended with the father chasing Wissam from the street to the door and stabbing him over and over again. Wissam died minutes later in his mother’s arms at the entrance of his home. The final ruling on January 6th was that blood money be paid and a five year sentence. After the judge ruled, Wissam’s sister turned to her mother and asked “Mama when father comes out of prison, will he kill us like he killed Wissam?”

Dr. Amal Al Kafrawi psychiatric and addiction specialist told Alwatan that protection from domestic violence committees under the Ministry of Health are unavailable and non-existent, despite the existence of them in name within the ministry. She added that the impact of domestic violence is mostly suffered by the children. She stated that we find that the weak individual is assaulted in every way without having the chance to defend himself or his human rights, which must be guaranteed by his community, so children grow up in an atmosphere of constant persecution and humiliation that destroy their innocence.

The only case in Saudi history when a father/murder was made to pay is that of Ghusoon, an eight year old girl who was chained and tortured over a year by her father and stepmother while her mother ran from one official to the next asking for help. Ghussoon was starved, had kerosene poured over her, burned and even hit with a car in her father’s yard. All of this because the father doubted his paternity. Alas Ghusoon died before anyone would listen to her mother. In only that case was it considered murder and the father executed. You would think that Ghusoon’s case would create a precedent, right? Wrong. Because Saudi’s (reminiscently medieval) justice system is resistant to codification. Every judge can rule in whatever way he sees fit, as long as he can find a religious text to base his ruling on. That means you can have two cases of murder, divorce or whatever with the exact same specifications and in the courtroom of the same judge and still get two different rulings depending on who the defendants are, what they wore, their piety…etc.

I can only guess what the motive is behind NSHR statements and actions. The only thing that’s apparent is that they are downplaying the case.

23 Comments

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23 responses to “What’s up with the National Society of Human Rights?

  1. q

    So depressing . The world is not becoming a better place to live in. Even the justice system is unable to be just.

  2. Like the Majlis Al-Shura (Consultative Council), this club was created by the system, paid for by the system, accountable only to the system and its job is to make the system looks good on the expense of the disenfranchised population. The appointed men and women to these government agencies have to look at themselves in the mirror and ask this question: Are we serving the people or are we hired hands to perpetuate their oppression.

    • Ali

      I’ve seen you on a number of blogs and although it’s not apparent at first, you’re just another uncle Tom and a bitter ex Saudi. your so called ‘organization’ doesn’t even include Saudis but neo cons. Stop pretending you’re someone important or that your opinion matters. Thank god there are real Saudis out there both inside and outside SA who are genuinely interested in human rights.

  3. mminka

    The goal is to keep this case from being widely known outside Saudi Arabia.

      • mminka

        I have seen no coverage anywhere of this in the American press or the UK press. Do you have links to western coverage?

    • Alice

      mminka, just do a google search of the “Sheik” and US articles come up. I wrote to the Saudi Embassy in the US on the issue. The least we can do is speak up.
      http://www.saudiembassy.net/contact/

    • That these acts are dispicable in Islam and need to be punished. As we know “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” it should be dealt with in the man being put to death! Every child is One in Worship of Allah The AllMighty and born a Muslim , so if as we believe “he had “saved a life ,he would have saved the entire humanity, and if he takes a life he would have taken the life of the entire humanity.” But let us clearify that we do not know ourselves better than Our Allah and Rasool (Last of the Prophets , Sydna (our Teacher ) Mohammed who had the profoundest of advise, and said , that we are not to publicise bad actions , for they shall then spread in the Society..Peace and love on our planet earth.

      • To quote Tariq Siddick: …”we are not to publicise bad actions, for they shall then spread in the Society.” This neatly allows those who commit “bad actions” to evade punishment. It is reminiscent of the rationale of the Catholic church hierarchy in its intimidation and manipulation of parents of children abused by priests to not demand jail for offending priests for, by so doing, they would be bringing disrepute on the church, while publicizing subjects not covered in, say, the Irish media. Pedophile priests, in patterns replicated world-wide, were left free to continue their “bad actions,” some believe these continue to this day because not enough has been done to bring the full force of the law down on pedophiles and abusers.

      • N.B. There is a vast difference in executing a law for despicable actions, and spreading it on media and other forms of public platforms….. Some countries allow for those open actions , so that those actions example fornication /adultery and other vices spread. The result is clear it is not the couple that suffers but the entire family; Children take to drug abuse for comfort etc. etc. …..the moral fabric of a society disintegrates…. Allah, Barakah, Blessings and Instant Therapy in mere mention of The Merciful 1God’s Name , Have Mercy on our souls…….Peace on Earth.

  4. Despite all the Calls, and Need, for Social and Political reform in the Middle East; I. do not see another NATO/EU sponsored Bourgeois Despotism as a Solution. maybe Saudiwoman would be better off moving to Canada ?

  5. madeha alajroush

    Thank you for this very informative article. Taking responsibility in doing something for Lama’s case is important. No longer can we be silent on domestic abuse. It has grown where children and women have no place to go for help, the system does not provide much support or developed save homes for protection. If society is me, you and others, thus as citizens we need to look at violence in the family more seriously.
    With all the pressure that was put on the Ministry of Social Affairs to develop a system of protection it has failed to do so. Today women are fleeing to Canada to seek asylum and protection from domestic abuse. As a nation we no longer can protect our children and women.

  6. Moto Morikawa

    I always be impressed by your brog deep-emotinally. I think you are very brave and handsome woman,becase your frank opinions on your brog give strong messages not only Saudi’s women and men but also all of the people on the earth. You have the power to change the world. I am a japanese. So I have little knowledge about Saudi women’s human rights situations. But I can get some imformations about Saudi women’s emotion by your brog. Please never give up. I pray for your and Saudi women’s bright future.

  7. kate.

    Whats wrong with letting it get out to the world??? its a horrible SIN and it happened to a sweet innnocent little girl. SHE deserves some sort of justice for this and that SICK man who calls himself a godly man, deserves NO privacy.

  8. roxana aguilera

    No entiendo el idioma de la mamá de Lama ,pero su dolor rebasó esta frontera ,su voz,su mirada ,me dijo todo. Increíble ,sin perdón la acción de
    Batir a una niña,a alguien indefensa eso en mi país es frecuenteCOBARDÍA
    Y en sicología me intuye cuando se esconde la rabia de una FRUSTRACIÓN
    RELACIONADA CON SEXO,!!!
    Esta noticia es hecho impactante de los q marcan e queda para siempre.
    La justicia debe ser equitativa con la imposibilidad de reparar el daño,nadie
    Podrá traer a la peque Lama,q descanse en paz

    • roxana aguilera

      Discúlpeme la palabra frecuente no es intencional se fue mientras teclaba
      Eso no pasa en mi país,y al q lo haga es pena de muerte,si es q antes es
      Linchado

  9. countrygirl

    Something is moving (about the coverage of this perverted act of so called justice) a big article on the DM about this poor angel
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273171/Fayhan-al-Ghamdi-raped-tortured-daughter-5-death-escapes-light-sentence.html#axzz2Jwwi7IuC

  10. Laura

    Do you know what is being done internationally to advance women and children’s right in Saudi Arabia? I just stumbled upon your blog and I really appreciate the view from inside. It’s too sad that these types of abuse occur and they aren’t reported worldwide….I wonder if they were more widely known if International Rights groups would take more of a stand? Any advice on what we can do as foreigners would be greatly appreciated!

    • Abbey Ash

      International non- government supported Human Rights Groups who work by using “people power”and who do not accept any funds from governments-
      AVAAZ- International
      Amnesty International
      Please Saudi Women Google and try to contact these groups who work hard for human rights.

  11. Hello,

    I work for BBC World Service radio. We’re having a discussion on human rights in Saudi Arabia at 9pm your time, would you like to join us? We’re asking “Can Saudi Arabia’s social care system protect its women and children?” Please email emma.wilson@bbc.co.uk if you are interested in joining this discussion.

    Many thanks,

    Emma Wilson.
    @EmmaWilson1

  12. I am torn apart between being shocked about the fact that our judicial system will always favor males, regardless of what heinous crimes they have committed, or the fact that we are talking about an islamic country that has adopted this religion as its law!
    Let us take a moment to see how many parties have contributed to killing those little children, of course on the other side of the coin they are females whom are being tortured on daily basis as well but that is not our case for the day, they are at least three organizations\ government bodies that have overlooked the case, eventually causing the end of these innocent children’s lives.
    I will choose to stop the comment here because I am at a loss of words in regards of this situation. Though I will choose to say one more thing… Kudos, my beloved country, for stripping out yourself from humanity.

  13. Yasmine

    @bigstick1
    No it’s not at all shariaa law. It’s a sick interpretation! We all know that Muslim countries are living an age of decadence. Just like the west lived a thousand years of dark ages.
    How much more will it take for the Muslim nation to rise and implement the true Islam, the fabulous religion, whose columns stand on “HAQ” that is JUSTICE!

    I have a toddler. Once he misbehaved badly and I got out of control so I slapped him and his face turned red. The sharia law was that I have to pay him a kaffara (money worth of 3/4 or one gold coin)! That was just a slap!
    Islam came to teach us humanity… Back in the days where Islam was revealed, men used to bury their newborns if it were a girl. Islam came to forbid it in more than one verse.

    Many people on this blog had a lot of hatred, some said many offensive insults, whether to Islam, the prophet or the Quran.
    Please let us have a decent dialogue. I will not return the insults by other insults because Islam tells me so and it also imposes DIALOGUE between all different cultures and religions.

    It’s an Age of decadence for the Muslims. It’s a big shame that we are not translating Islam in our actions and jurisdictions.
    Am personally afraid of Allah’s wrath upon us!
    Please everyone of us Muslims, have to realize that this is our responsibility and our children’s.

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