Syrian democracy activists have taken to the Internet to post examples of the type of human rights abuses that come from Saudi Arabia. One recent example is that of Nagla Wafa, who was a Saudi businesswomen who was sentenced to five years in prison and has received at least 400 of 500 judge imposed lashes so far, given in groups of 50 at 6 week intervals for having a business disagreement with a Saudi princess. The businesswomen has become so depressed that she has taken to a hunger strike and has suffered a lot of psychological problems as a result of her imprisonment and beatings at the hands of her jailers. These Syrian prodemocracy activists are also as wary of religious law such as Saudi Arabia has as they are of al Qaeda. The woman suffers from a pre-existing back injury problem which makes her beatings especially cruel because she suffers from daily back pain for many years.
According the family’s story, Nagla Wafa was a successful wedding planner who caught the interest of a daughter of the king of Saudi Arabia. The daughter of the king wanted to make a business partnership with Wafa, but rarely contributed anything. Finally the princess contributed $2 million in Saudi Arabian currency to the restaurant, but a business disagreement resulted in the Saudi princess wanting her money back at some point, which was tied up in investment in the restaurant and eventually Nagla Wafa was jailed on some sort of charges and was sentenced to five years in prison and suffer periodic floggings of 50 lashes at a time. The woman was apparently denied access to a lawyer in the trial as well, all according to the claims of the family. The family denies any wrongdoing on the part of Nagla Wafa, only that a business disagreement resulted in the charges and imprisonment.
Nagla Wafa has now been imprisoned for several years and has suffered most of her whippings so far. And, it is stories like this that frighten away many from business investments in some foreign countries, especially those with extreme governments, dictatorships or those under religious law oppression.