Khamisa Sawadi, a 75-year-old widow living in Saudi Arabia, has been sentenced to forty lashes and a jail term for meeting with two 24-year-old men who were not immediate relatives, a violation under that country’s strict interpretation of Islam which prohibits unmarried women from mingling with non-family members. The men, one of whom was the nephew of her late husband, visited the old woman’s home after she asked them to bring her bread; they have also been sentenced to prison terms and lashes. Sawadi told the court that she considered her husband’s nephew to be her son because she breast-fed him when he was a baby, an act which is seen to forge a maternal link under Islamic tradition, but the court denied her claim, saying she did not provide evidence. Her lawyer says he plans to appeal the verdict, which also demands that his client be deported to her homeland of Syria after serving her prison term.
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