‘Justice for all’: How Saudi Arabia’s sexual harassment law will work

Time: June 03, 2018

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s new anti-harassment law will help all individuals live a normal life free of fear, the Interior Ministry’s security spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, has said.

With the new law coming into effect within a couple of days,  following its publication in the Official Gazette, Al-Turki explained how it would be implemented in a press conference on Thursday.

The new law, approved by a Council of Ministers meeting last Tuesday,  will combat sexual harassment in the Kingdom, which is considered a crime according to Islamic law.

“We expect that this law will lower sexual harassment crimes,” Al-Turki said. “We are working towards not having these crimes in any place in the Kingdom.”

No statistics are available on the incidence of sexual harassment, because of past reluctance to report violations. “These crimes were under the morale law, and because there was  little reporting, that is why this law has been provided to protect the identity of the harassed and help them come forward and report incidents,” Al-Turki said.


The Kingdom has recently witnessed a wide-ranging series of reforms. The ambitious Vision 2030 aims to have women more involved and less segregated than before. While the new law reaffirms women’s role in society, it is not related to women in Saudi Arabia being allowed to drive from June 24, Al-Turki said. In fact, the law applies to both genders.

“This law is to help all individuals live a normal life without any incidents of harassment,” he said. “Any person who has been subjected to harassment or has been a witness to it should inform the competent authorities.”

The most severe punishments will be given to those who harass people with special needs and children under the age of 18, with an awareness campaign to be introduced in schools.

“Many people are reluctant to have their children participate in certain activities for fear of being harassed. This law helps put the guardians at ease,” he said.

The most severe cases will face prison terms of up to five years and/or a maximum penalty of SR300,000 ($80,000). Incidents that have been reported more than once will be subject to the maximum punishment.

Lesser cases will face a prison term of up to two years and/or a maximum penalty of SR100,000.

“The Public Prosecution will give out the punishment, depending on the crime committed.” Al-Turki said.

Fines paid by the harasser will not go to the harassed. “The most important aspect is that justice has been witnessed by the harassed,” he said.

Under the law, sexual harassment is defined as words or actions that hint at sexuality towards one person from another, or that harms the body, honor or modesty of a person in any way.

“The law is clear: Anything that is sexually related or within a sexual context will be taken into consideration. Everyone understands what sexual harassment is. We are all Muslims and have been raised with Islamic values,” Al-Turki said.

The law will apply to modern technology, including social media. “Many people believe if they use fake names, we won’t be able to identify them or track them down,” Al-Turki said. However, “if there are documents and evidence, we will take action.”

Explicit emojis could be considered harassment, Al-Turki said, but a rose emoji should not be cause for concern. “The investigation between the two individuals will be built on evidence, and the Public Prosecution will conclude if there is or isn’t harassment,” he said.

Reports will protect the privacy of those involved. “We have information that there are a lot of people who are hesitant to report harassments because of the consequences to privacy,” Al-Turki said. “The system provides confidentiality to protect the harassed.”


This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Shura to debate anti-harassment bill on Monday

Draft law stipulates up to 15 years in jail, SR 3 million fines for harassers

Image result for Saudi Shura to debate anti-harassment bill on Monday

Manama: Saudi Arabia is moving ahead to combat harassment with a bill aimed at preventing and prohibiting it legally through prison terms that could reach 15 years.

An anti-harassment bill prepared by the Ministry of Interior will be discussed by the Shura Council at its session on Monday.

A review on the merits of the bill prepared by the Shura’s social, family and youth committee will be presented to the 150 members, including 30 women.

The proposal is now in its final stages of being enacted. Drafted by the Interior Ministry upon an order from King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, it was presented to the king who referred it to the cabinet where it was reviewed with the participation of competent authorities, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Thursday.

Should the bill get the approval of the Shura on Monday, it will be referred back to the King Salman who will ratify it.

The draft law consists of eight articles and aims at combating the crime of harassment, preventing it, applying punishment against perpetrators and protecting the victims in order to safeguard the individual’s privacy, dignity and personal freedom that are guaranteed by Islamic law and regulations.

No figures about harassment in Saudi Arabia are readily available, but King Salman had called for a law that would criminalise the menaces and the negative effects of harassment on the individual, the family and the society.

Sources cited by Okaz said that the new law would impose prison terms of up to 15 years and fines that could reach SR 3 million.

The public prosecution will be in charge of dealing with investigations in the cases of harassment, they added.

The interior ministry will be tasked with conducting campaigns to promote awareness about the legal risks that harassers would face.

This article was first published in  Gulf News

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Saudi courts recover $3.4bn after enforcing foreign rulings

Time: May 23, 2018

JEDDAH: Saudi enforcement courts have recovered more than $3.4 billion after imposing a number of foreign rulings.

The rulings came from foreign arbitration committees and courts concerning individuals, companies and entities inside the Kingdom.

The most recent one came from a court in Virginia, forcing a Saudi tourism company to pay $3,758,000 (SR14 million) to a US company.

“We have received more than 400 applications from a number of applicants who are following up on foreign rulings implementation. The enforcement courts are working hard to process them and enforce the rulings, whether they are concerning individuals, investors, companies or other institutions,” the ministry said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia will fine couples $130,000 for snooping through each others’ texts


Time: April 04, 2018

The new law is part of the Crown Prince’s efforts to modernize the Kingdom economically and socially with his Vision 2030 plan.

  • Saudi Arabia has taken steps to criminalize citizens who snoop through their spouses’ phones.
  • The new law imposes fines of up to $130,000 or jail time for for the offense.
  • The initiative is part of the Crown Prince’s efforts to modernize the Kingdom economically and socially with his Vision 2030 plan.

Saudi Arabia has taken steps to punish citizens who snoop on their spouses’ phones.

The Kingdom announced on Monday that it has begun enforcing a new law that imposes steep fines or jail time on married individuals who snoop on their spouse’s mobile phone.

According to the new law, “spying on, interception or reception of data transmitted through an information network or a computer without legitimate authorization” is now prohibited. Accessing a spouse’s computer “unlawfully” with the intention to threaten or blackmail another person is also a criminal offense under the new Anti-Cybercrime law.

Married lawbreakers could face a fine of up to $133,000 (500,000 riyals), a year in prison, or both.

The government says the new laws help protect individual’s privacy and preserve the rights of internet users. The anti-snooping laws are part of an increased focus on cyber crime and hacking — and the Crown Prince’s efforts to modernize the Kingdom economically and socially with his Vision 2030 plan.

Saudi Arabia recently lifted a decades-old ban on cinemas in the country, showing the Kingdom is open to modernization. It has also moved to advance some level of gender equality, granting women the right to drive in July 2017, and allowing them to go to sports stadiums to watch soccer games for the first time.


Saudi law criminalizes spying on spouse’s mobile phone

SOURCE: Arab News

Time: March 31, 2018


LONDON: Saudi law has criminalized the act of spying on your spouse’s mobile phone illegally and has listed this act under cybercrimes.
Husbands or wives who are caught spying on their spouse’s mobile phone in order to prove dishonest behavior can be imprisoned for up to a year, receive a SR 500,000 fine or receive both forms of punishment.
According to legal sources, the penalty is imposed on people who access their spouse’s mobile phone without their permission. Accessing your spouse’s mobile phone becomes illegal when you crack their mobile phone’s password, according to the law.
A penalty of one year in prison and a fine of SR 500,000 is applicable to partners who electronically send the information that they have gained access to. If the person only looks through the phone and does not forward or photograph any of the information, the penalty awarded is less.
Abdul Aziz bin Batel, a lawyer and legal adviser, said that any crime committed using computers, mobile phones and cameras is considered a cyber crime and will be punished accordingly.


Saudi female prosecutors to be recruited to protect women’s privacy

Time: 26 January 2018

RIYADH: Women prosecutors will be recruited to the same positions as their male counterparts, Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mojeb has said.
Responding to questions from Arab News, Al-Mojeb said jobs recently offered to women were meant to protect women’s privacy in issues that required female investigators.
Al-Mojeb said the recruitments were in line with Vision 2030 requirements to support the role of women.
Asked whether women had been accused of corruption and if the new jobs (female investigators) were created to investigate their cases, the general prosecutor said no women had been accused. If such a case were to occur, the system would apply without any discrimination, he said.
Al-Mojeb said expanding employment for women in other areas of the public prosecution would be implemented if required.
On a certain ceiling for women’s positions, he said the same conditions for male employees of the public prosecution would apply.
On the number of those accused of corruption charges and the key accusations levelled against those at the Ritz Carlton, as well as the results of investigations, he said their number stands at 350.
Key accusations were focused on administrative corruption, wasting public funds, embezzlement, misuse of public office and bribery, he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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