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Report: Saudi girl accepts lashing for assaulting headmistress

By Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
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Saudi ruling sparks outrage
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Schoolgirl assaulted her headmistress after a confrontation over a cell phone
  • Girl reportedly struck headmistress after her camera-equipped cell phone confiscated
  • Report: She has accepted her sentence of 90 lashes and two months in prison for assault
  • Amnesty International has urged Saudi Arabian authorities not to carry out the sentence
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(CNN) -- A schoolgirl in Saudi Arabia has accepted her sentence of 90 lashes and two months in prison for assaulting her headmistress after a confrontation over a cell phone, according to Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan.

"The verdict was accepted by the girl -- she did not reject it, which means it will be carried out," Dr. Riyadh Al-Muhaidib, the Head of the Court in the Saudi city of Jubail, told Al-Watan.

Al-Muhaidib went on to say that Saudi Arabian King Abdullah could pardon the girl, in which case the punishment would not be carried out, Al-Watan reported.

Human rights group Amnesty International has urged Saudi Arabian authorities not to carry out the sentence, and Saudi Arabia's National Society for Human Rights called for the punishment to be reconsidered, according to statements from both groups.

Al-Watan, which first reported the sentence, said the girl struck the headmistress on the head with a glass after a confrontation over the confiscation of the girl's camera-equipped cell phone.

Dr. Saleh Al-Khaslan, a spokesman for the Saudi Arabian rights group, told CNN the penalty was too severe.

Video: Saudi girl sentenced to 90 lashes

"The court should have looked for an alternative sentence," he said, adding that the group is calling on an appeals court in Jubail to hear the case again.

Al-Watan did not provide the name of the school, its headmistress or the girl in its reports. The newspaper's story Sunday quoted a school official as saying the girl is not 13, but about 20 years old. Both Amnesty International and the Saudi Arabian watchdog group have said the girl is 13.

Efforts to reach the Saudi Ministry of Justice were unsuccessful.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism, and lashings are a common form of punishment.

Last October, a court sentenced a man to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes after he bragged about his sex life on television.

Last March, a Saudi court sentenced a 75-year-old Syrian woman to 40 lashes, four months imprisonment and deportation from the kingdom for having two unrelated men in her house.

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 attackers, who abducted the man and woman, got sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison. The case sparked international outrage, prompting Saudi's King Abdullah to pardon the girl and the unrelated male.

 
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