No nation rises higher than its women
According to the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan, troubles for the woman, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, began last year when a member of the religious police entered her house in the city of Al-Chamli and found her with two unrelated men, "Fahd" and "Hadian."
Fahd told the policeman he had the right to be there, because Sawadi had breast-fed him as a baby and was therefore considered to be a son to her in Islam, according to Al-Watan. Fahd, 24, added that his friend Hadian was escorting him as he delivered bread for the elderly woman. The policeman then arrested both men.
Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism and punishes unrelated men and women who are caught mingling.
The court also doled out punishment to the two men. Fahd was sentenced to four months in prison and 40 lashes; Hadian was sentenced to six months in prison and 60 lashes. In a phone call with Al Watan, the judge declined to comment and suggested the newspaper review the case with the Ministry of Justice. Sawadi told the newspaper that she will appeal, adding that Fahd is indeed her son through breastfeeding.
A top Saudi human rights lawyer, Abdulrahman Al-Lahem, volunteered to defend the woman and the two men and has been given power of attorney by them. He told CNN he plans to file an appeal in the case next week.
Efforts to reach Saudi officials at the Justice Ministry, religious police and other agencies were unsuccessful. A spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington said he had no details on the case.
The case sparked anger in Saudi Arabia.
"It's made everybody angry because this is like a grandmother," Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider told CNN. "Forty lashes -- how can she handle that pain? You cannot justify it."
This is not the first Saudi court case to cause controversy.
In 2007, a 19-year-old gang-rape victim in the Saudi city of Qatif was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison for meeting with an unrelated male. The seven rapists, who abducted the woman and man, received sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison.
The case sparked international outrage and Saudi King Abdullah subsequently pardoned the "Qatif Girl" and the unrelated male.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. At least the men here get equal ''justice.'' But two wrongs don't make a right.
If it weren't for Saudi Arabia's official policy that women are chattel, none of this would be happening.
And so, I think I am gonna start a permanent category based on that Nellie MClung quote.
But the Saudis are our oil-producing friends, right?