Saudi Arabia in shock after schoolgirl 'gang-raped then murdered'

Saudi Arabia in shock after schoolgirl 'gang-raped then murdered'
Reports circulated on social media platforms this week about the alleged gang-rape and murder of a student in the port city of Jizan, Saudi Arabia.
2 min read
06 December, 2019
Reports have circulated that a student was gang-raped and burnt to death. [Getty]
Reports that a student was gang-raped and burnt to death in Saudi Arabia have circulated on social media platforms this week, prompting anger and calls for justice.

A high school student identified as Bushra Muhajjab and her sister were allegedly lured into an apartment by their friend to greet her mother, but were instead attacked and gang-raped by four men, who fled the scene after setting the house on fire, according to reports on Twitter.

The girl died in the fire while her sister was rushed to hospital, where she remains in a coma, according to reports on Twitter, which could not be independently verified by The New Arab.

Local police released a statement confirming that the city's fire brigade was called to attend to a house fire in Jizan, where a body was discovered while putting out the fire, the Saudi Press Agency said.

The reports prompted anger on social media platforms, with many calling on authorities to find and punish the perpetrators. 

"May her soul rest in peace and may justice be served. I was brought to tears reading about how cheerful and loved she was by everyone who knew her," one Twitter user said.

"We don't want her offenders to walk free after their heinous crime! We want her justice," another Twitter user said.

"Sickening - even animals wouldn't do this," another user said.

The legal system of the ultra-conservative kingdom operates under Sharia law, which rules that rapists could face execution.

However, the absence of a penal code means that there are no written laws that specifically criminalise rape or prescribe its punishment.

This results in irregular sentences for rape cases. While in 2010 two Pakistani citizens convicted of rape were beheaded, a Saudi preacher convicted of raping, torturing and murdering his five-year-old daughter in 2013 only received eight years in prison.

Rights groups also say that rape victims are often punished for speaking out.

A Human Rights Watch report found that victims were often harassed by officials and their local communities when they spoke out. In some cases, they are even seen as culprits in the crime.

In 2009, the Saudi Gazette reported that a 23-year-old unmarried woman was sentenced to one year in prison and 100 lashes for adultery, after she became pregnant from a gang-rape.

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