Saudi king cancels journalist flogging

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Saudi King Abdullah has waived a sentence of 60 lashes for a female Lebanese satellite network producer for a program on non-marital sex, the government said.

Abdullah canceled the sentence against Rozanna al-Yami after being briefed on the case, the BBC reported Monday.


Mazen Abdul Jawad, who appeared on the program on LBC, received a sentence of five years in prison and 1,000 lashes for describing on TV his techniques for picking up Saudi women. Three other men who described their sexual adventures on the program have been jailed, along with a cameraman.

The interview with Jawad was done for a program on taboos in Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia's unwritten rule that men can have affairs with women from other countries but not with Saudi women.

After the program aired, the Saudi government closed LBC's offices and arrested al-Yami and another female producer.

"King Abdullah's swift revocation of this punishment sends an important notice to the Saudi judicial system that it should not go after journalists for exercising free speech," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.


HRW said the Saudi king should overturn the case against Jawad as well.

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