RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – A Saudi court on Saturday convicted a female journalist for her involvement in a TV show, in which a Saudi man publicly talked about sex, and sentenced her to 60 lashes.
Rozanna al-Yami is believed to be the first Saudi woman journalist to be given such a punishment. The charges against her included involvement in the preparation of the program and advertising the segment on the Internet.
Abdul-Rahman al-Hazza, the spokesman of the Ministry of Culture and Information, told The Associated Press he had no details of the sentencing and could not comment on it.
In the program, which aired in July on the Lebanese LBC satellite channel, Mazen Abdul-Jawad appears to describe an active sex life and shows sex toys that were blurred by the station. The same court sentenced Abdul-Jawad earlier this month to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes.
The man's lawyer, Sulaiman al-Jumeii, maintains his client was duped by the TV station and was unaware in many cases he was being recorded.
On Saturday, he told the AP that not trying his client or al-Yami before a court specialized in media matters at the Ministry of Culture and Information was a violation of Saudi law.
"It is a precedent to try a journalist before a summary court for an issue that concerns the nature of his job," he said.
The case has scandalized this ultraconservative country where such public talk about sex is taboo and the sexes are strictly segregated.
The government moved swiftly in the wake of the case, shutting down LBC's two offices in the kingdom and arresting Abdul-Jawad, who works for the national airline.
Three other men who appeared on the show, "Bold Red Line," were also convicted of discussing sex publicly and sentenced to two years imprisonment and 300 lashes each.