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Saudi rape case lawyer 'reinstated'

  • Story Highlights
  • Saudi lawyer Abdul Rahman al-Lahem says his license to practice is reinstated
  • Al-Lahem says license revoked because he publicized rape victim's conviction
  • Saudi minister last month denied license was ever revoked
  • Rape victim was convicted of being alone with an unrelated man
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(CNN) -- The Saudi lawyer who represented a woman kidnapped and raped by seven men said his license to practice has been reinstated.

A protest appeared in India in November against the Saudi sentence.

Lawyer and human rights activist Abdul Rahman al-Lahem told CNN's Nic Robertson that the Justice Ministry has reinstated his license.

Al-Lahem had previously told CNN that the Saudi judge revoked his license as punishment for speaking to the media about his client's case, which attracted international attention.

His client, an engaged teenager, was raped by seven men who found her alone with a man unrelated to her. She has said she was meeting with the man to retrieve a photograph. The attack took place in Qatif in March 2006.

The seven rapists were sentenced to two to nine years in prison but she also was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison for having violated the kingdom's strict Islamic law by being alone with an unrelated man.

The woman's sentence provoked outrage in the West and cast light on the treatment of women under Saudi Arabian law.

Under Saudi law, women are subject to numerous restrictions, including a strict dress code, a prohibition against driving and a requirement that they get a man's permission to travel or have surgery.

In challenging what he said were his suspension and disbarment, al-Lahem said he had received threats on his life from the religious right.

Last month, Minister of Justice Abdallah bin Mohammed al-Sheikh, in a phone call to a Saudi Television newscast, said the lawyer's license had never been revoked.

"Such decisions are made through institutions in the kingdom," he said. "The punishment of the lawyer or any lawyer does not come from a reaction; it comes from a carefully examined procedure within a special council in the ministry."

He said the council charged with deciding law license revocations had not issued any decisions in the case. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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