Saudi Owner Faces Flogging for Hiring Women.
QATIF, 8 April 2006 — Restaurant owner Nabeel Al-Ramadan said he was surprised by a phone call from a local court judge asking him to meet him immediately.
When Al-Ramadan asked if it was all right to bring his lawyer, the judge told the businessman that he wanted to see him alone.
When Al-Ramadan arrived in the court, the judge informed him that he had been sentenced in absentia to 90 lashes to be administered in clusters of 30 apiece. The charge against him was violating dignity and decorum.
After further inquiries, Al-Ramadan found out that his crime was employing two young women at his restaurant “Ranoosh” to take orders by phone. That was a year and a half ago when locals reported this supposed infraction to authorities.
Al-Ramadan had reduced the girls’ schedule to four hours a day due to pressure from local authorities.
He was questioned and the girls were laid off even though the girls worked from beneath their veils, Al-Ramadan pointed out at the time.
“The girls were very respectable and worked while covering their faces. Nobody was violating any manners,” said Al-Ramadan.
The story was virtually forgotten until two weeks ago when Al-Ramadan received the call from the judge. Al-Ramadan has since appealed the verdict.