In a recent scandal that hit headlines, a Saudi millionaire property developer named Ehsan Abdulaziz, 46, was recently acquitted of rape charges in London.
Abdulaziz met the 18-year-old young woman in a London nightclub, where he’d invited her and her 24-year-old friend to join his $1,500-per-night table. He proceeded to purchase drinks for them before inviting the two women to his luxury London condo, where he engaged in consensual sex with the 24-year-old in his bedroom, while the younger woman slept on the couch.
Later that night, according to the barely-legal teenager, the girl woke up to find Abdulaziz on top of her, forcibly penetrating her.
Abdulaziz disputed this claim, and this is where the story goes from galling, to outright absurd and nonsensical. Abdulaziz claimed he had approached the girl to “offer her a T-shirt” when she grabbed him, pulled him towards her and — because of his “fragility” — he couldn’t help but fall on top of her.
She then forcibly placed his hand between her legs and his penis — which had apparently been sticking out of his underwear after his sexual encounter with the other woman — had “accidentally” penetrated her.
Although forensic analysis proved that his semen and DNA was inside the girl, Abdulaziz insisted he must have “had semen left on his hand” after his previous sexual encounter.
First, it’s unclear why Abdulaziz felt it necessary to approach the slumbering girl to offer her a T-shirt to begin with, considering not a single report mentioned that she had stripped down before going to bed to such an extent that she needed a shirt from Abdulaziz.
Abdulaziz’ story is utterly logically absurd, the forensic evidence proves that his semen and DNA was inside her and the only other real piece of ‘evidence’ that allegedly exonerates him was deemed ‘secret.’
Further, if he had no intention of having sex with her, it really makes no sense that he would approach her in his underwear, with his penis apparently sticking out. He’s from a deeply religiously conservative culture and even in more allegedly “liberal” cultures like England, it’s still considered inappropriate — even obscene — to approach someone with your genitals exposed.
Finally, considering the logistics of sexual contact, it would be quite difficult for a penis to actually penetrate the vaginal canal from simply stumbling on top of someone, especially if he was still — as he claimed — in his underwear.
Placing the logical holes in the millionaire’s story aside, it’s important to note this story takes place in London, celebrated as one of the leading bastions of liberalism and female empowerment, not in the heart of wahabist Saudi Arabia, arguably one of the most religiously conservative countries in the world, and one with a galling record on women’s rights.
The fact that a judge in England then allowed Abdulaziz to meet with him in private during the trial, where the Saudi allegedly offered “secret evidence” that the judge didn’t see fit to publicly disclose, before he was acquitted in less than 30 minutes, raises the possibility that Abdulaziz used his wealth and influence to beat a rape charge — one with enough damning forensic evidence to convince an unbiased jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
Of course, this conclusion is based on circumstantial evidence, but let’s consider the context; Abdulaziz’ story is utterly logically absurd, the forensic evidence proves that his semen and DNA was inside her and the only other real piece of “evidence” that allegedly exonerates him was deemed “secret,” — obtained in a secret meeting with the judge as he refused to explain the necessity of secrecy.
I don’t think it’s a stretch of the imagination to conclude that perhaps Abdulaziz’ wealth and class played at least a nominal role in his acquittal.
Now, normally, the U.K. is notorious for its use of secret evidence in civil and criminal cases. However, U.K. law had previously justified the use of “secret evidence” in matters of “national security.”
Defenders of this controversial policy insisted that the sacrifice of some civil liberties was “necessary” in the age of combatting global terrorism.
As we see in this case, however, once the citizenry allows those in power to limit their civil liberties even a modicum — even if the initial rationalizations seemed sound — eventually, those in power will exploit vague legal loopholes initially designed for “national security” to exonerate criminals who have enough wealth and influence to buy their way out of a conviction.
The U.K. is certainly not alone in exploiting fears regarding “national security” and “terrorism” to privilege the wealthy at the expense of the vulnerable; Saudi Arabia, in fact, has instituted a series of harsh measures to crack down on political dissidents, women’s rights activists and social justice movements under the guise of “cracking down on terrorism” and “preserving Sharia.”
However, these anti-terrorism and national security laws are almost always used to protect the political stronghold of Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite, many of whom are the very clerics who issue religious edicts that disproportionately affect vulnerable minorities — and not-coincidentally protect their own secular, class interests.
This explains why Saudi Arabia’s clerics issue fatwas and edicts that are demonstrably antithetical to Islam’s teachings, instituting a theocracy where rulers cherry-pick and torture religious logic in order to preserve their own wealth, status and debauchery has been a staple of historical theocracies that proceeded even King Henry the VIII’s establishment of the Church of England for his own personal benefit.
In Saudi Arabia’s case, a prime example includes multiple instances where women are punished and imprisoned for being raped, while the rapists (Saudi males) avoid any legal ramifications for their crimes.
Saudi Arabia’s handling of rape cases come in direct contradiction to hadiths in which women are never punished for being raped, no matter whether they were alone or with a guardian, and the rapist is executed.
Although Saudi law is allegedly based on Sharia, with police forces used to enforce “Islamic law” in the streets, systemic corruption within the system ensures that Saudi law is largely implemented to protect Saudi Arabia’s powerful elite and punishes vulnerable minorities and groups that threaten the status quo.
This is where Abdulaziz’ background comes into play; it seems quite fitting that the criminal in question is a wealthy Saudi Sunni male, someone who grew up in a country whose entire legal and religious system is designed to privilege him at the expense of every other demographic: Women, religious minorities and foreigners.
It is a country where wealthy, Saudi Sunni men dictate harsh and oppressive laws that they, themselves, are exempt from — not in the letter of the law, no, but certainly in practice.
Abdulaziz, it seems, internalized an entitlement complex born from a childhood where vulnerable minorities were expected to submit to his every desire and dictate — and where he was able to continue exploiting vulnerable individuals in the U.K., a country who has demonstrably proven themselves that their laws — even ones ostensibly implemented for “national security — are easily manipulated to protect the wealthy.
Image: The Young Turks