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Saudi Arabia: Royal Decree Overturns Court Decision Against Female Journalist

(Dec. 4, 2009) On October 26, 2009, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree abolishing a criminal court sentence of 60 lashes and a two-year travel ban against a female journalist, Rosanna Al-Yami. Al-Yami was sentenced for working at the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. (LBC), which broadcast an episode of a television show known as the “Thick Red Line.” During this episode, a Saudi man bragged about his sexual escapades. Although Al-Yami was able to convince the court that she did not participate in the production of the episode, she was sentenced to 60 lashes because of her association with an unregistered TV channel, that is, LBC. (A Thousand Men in One of Rosanna's Nights [in Arabic], ALARBONLINE, Nov. 14, 2009, available at

According to a Saudi daily electronic newspaper, the royal amnesty decree was granted to protect journalists from being prosecuted in the criminal courts when they commit media violations. (The Royal Amnesty for Rosan Al-Yami Is Deemed a Victory for the Freedom of the Press and Journalists [in Arabic], SAUDI DAY, Nov. 1, 2009, available at