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November 11, 2008

Interesting international sentencing controversy in middle east

Anyone troubled by the nature and state of sentencing law and policy in the United States can perhaps take some comfort that other countries also have their share of dysfunctional sentencing experiences.  The latest example comes from this notable AP story reporting on recent activity in the Middle East:

Demonstrators in Cairo demanded Tuesday that Saudi Arabia release an Egyptian doctor sentenced to 15 years in prison and 1,500 lashes after he was convicted of malpractice —reportedly after treating a Saudi princess....

Raouf Amin el-Arabi, a doctor who has been serving the Saudi royal family for about 20 years, was convicted last year of giving a patient the wrong medication.  Egyptian newspapers reported that he was accused of driving a Saudi princess "to addiction."

He initially was sentenced to seven years in prison and 700 lashes, but when he appealed two months ago, the judge not only upheld the conviction, but more than doubled the penalty to 15 years in prison and 1,500 lashes.

Family members, friends and colleagues gathered at the headquarters of Egypt's doctors' union in downtown Cairo and urged Saudi King Abdullah to pardon el-Arabi.... "1,500 lashes is unprecedented in the history of Islam," read one banners carried by protesters.....

El-Arabi is in a jail in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and is believed to have received at least one of his weekly installments of 70 lashes so far.

November 11, 2008 at 02:17 PM | Permalink


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What I find more disturbing about stories out of the Middle East regarding sentencing is how often public or international pressure is actually able to change outcomes.

Treating malpractice as a criminal matter does not strike me as particularly unreasonable.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Nov 11, 2008 5:13:37 PM

Do they always treat medmal as a criminal matter? Or just in cases of royalty? If we did that here, it'd empty hospitals across the nation.

Egyptian doctors are all up in arms about this, since they feel Egyptian expatriates are treated harshly by the courts in Saudi.

Here's an article with a different perspective than the AP

And since I know you're all wondering - it was morphine.

Posted by: babalu | Nov 11, 2008 11:00:10 PM

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