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October 27, 2009

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King drops flogging sentence

SAUDI Arabia's king waived a flogging sentence on a female journalist charged for involvement in a risque TV show, the second such pardoning of such a high profile case by the monarch recently.

King Abdullah's decision to waive 22-year-old journalist Rozanna al-Yami's sentence of 60 lashes by a judge in Jiddah follows intense international media attention.

The journalist was charged with helping coordinate a talk show on a Lebanese channel featuring a Saudi man describing what appeared to be his active sex life. Though the charges against her were dropped, the judge ordered the flogging as a "deterent," al-Yami said.

In November 2007, the king waived a flogging sentence of 90 lashes against a rape victim for being alone in a car with an unrelated man shortly before the two were attacked.

The case also evoked international outrage over the Saudi judiciary.

Yesterday, Information Ministry spokesman Abdul-Rahman al-Hazza said that the king waived the sentence and ordered al-Yami's case and that of another journalist - a pregnant woman also accused of involvement in the program - be referred to a committee in the ministry.

Al-Hazza said the king made his decision after he was briefed by Information Minister Abdel Aziz Khoja.


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