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Bush Disappointed in Saudi Arabia Over Rape Case Decision


President Bush has expressed disappointment with Saudi Arabia for a court's decision to sentence a victim of a gang rape to 200 lashes and six months in prison.

Mr. Bush told reporters at the White House Tuesday, that he would have been very emotional if his own daughter had endured such treatment. He said he would also have been angry at those who committed the crime and at a state that did not support the victim.

Mr. Bush said he has not discussed the issue with Saudi King Abdullah. But he said the king knows the U.S. position on the case.

A Saudi court sentenced the 19-year-old Shi'ite woman last week for being in public with a man not related to her. The Saudi Justice Ministry says the woman and her companion were noticed by several men who kidnapped and raped both of them.

The court said it increased the woman's original sentence of 90 lashes because she had spoken to the media.

Saudi Arabia's Justice Ministry said Saturday the unidentified, married woman had confessed to having an extramarital affair last year.

Under Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law, women are not allowed in public in the company of men other than their male relatives.

The seven men convicted of raping the woman and her male companion have been given sentences ranging from two to nine years in prison.

The Saudi government has accused the international media of reporting false information about the case.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP .

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