Riyadh: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abudul Aziz has pardoned a female rape victim who had been sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes, a Saudi newspaper reported on Monday.
Saudi Justice Minister Abdullah Bin Muhammad Al Shaikh told Al Jazirah newspaper that the pardon does not mean the king doubted the country's judges, but instead acted in the "interests of the people".
“The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair," Al Jazirah quoted Al Shaikh as saying.
Rights groups have said the punishment for the 19-year-old gang rape victim was unjust.
Judges gave her the punishment for being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the attack. They said it was a violation of the kingdom's segregation of the sexes.
The woman's seven attackers were also found guilty of the rape and sentenced to prison terms ranging from just under a year to five years.