January 20, 2010

SAUDI ARABIA: Qatif rapist sentenced to death

. RIYADH, Saudi Arabia / Arab News / Kingdom / January 20, 2010 QATIF: A man dubbed the Qatif rapist has been sentenced to death for raping over 100 women and blackmailing many of his victims by recording the attacks on video. The Qatif General Court passed the death sentence on the man who is accused of luring women saying he could perform black magic. The ruling has been passed to the Supreme Court for ratification. The court originally sentenced the man to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes one year ago. The ruling was, however, appealed by the prosecution, Al-Yaum newspaper reported. It added that the crimes took place four years ago. The man’s family has objected to the sentence, saying the victims are anonymous and that their names have not been mentioned in the case filed against him. The family says this is not in accordance with the law and that the victims should not be given anonymity. The man was arrested by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which was informed by the male relative of a woman who was unsuccessfully targeted by the Qatif rapist. The commission spent two months gathering evidence against the man before his arrest four years ago, including setting up a sting operation. Qatif market. For illustration only. Copyright 2009 Photo by LuAnne Cadd The commission is said to have approached another victim to help set up the sting. The woman, however, panicked and so her mother took her place instead. The mother contacted the Qatif rapist saying she needed him to cast a spell to make her husband love her. The mother recorded all of their conversations and at one point the man asked the mother for SR5,000 and a naked picture of her to include in the spell. After this conversation, commission members moved to arrest the man. A subsequent search of his home led to the discovery of 200 videotapes and 180 CDs containing films of the man raping his victims. His home was also found to have a number of hidden cameras. On arrest, the man confessed to blackmailing his victims and hypnotizing them into having sex with him. He would also charge other men SR3,000 to have sex with the women. Following his arrest, dozens of victims came forward. However, only 15 testified against him in court on condition of anonymity and that the court session was closed from the public. Sources said the man had over SR4 million in his bank account. The money is thought to be earned from blackmailing. The man is also alleged to have received around SR50,000 a month in blackmail money. [rc] Copyright: Arab News © 2003