Woman in Saudi Faces 40 Lashes for Mingling

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2009 6:30 PM CDT
A Western man glides down an incline next to Muslim women in traditional Saudi dress at Central Market shopping mall October 15, 2002 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A 75-year-old Syrian woman faces 40 lashes and 4 months in prison for mingling with two men in Saudi Arabia, CNN reports. Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi will also be deported for allowing the men to enter her home last year. The men, sentenced to lashings as well, told police that Sawadi had breastfed one of them, which made their visit religiously correct. But a judge found no evidence of breastfeeding.

"It's made everybody angry because this is like a grandmother," one advocate said. A top Saudi human rights lawyer has vowed to appeal Sawadi's case, which marks another chapter in the country's ongoing human rights debate. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz recently installed more moderates in his Cabinet after a teen gang rape victim was punished, a move that sparked international uproar.