Riyadh: A primary court in the southern Jizan region of Saudi Arabia sentenced a Saudi religious policeman for keeping six wives at the same time, in clear violation of the Islamic Shariah principles.
The 56-year-old man is a member of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (known as religious police outside the Kingdom).
The general court in Ahad Al Masariha has sentenced him to 120 lashes. In addition, he was slapped with a five-year travel ban and was ordered to memorise the last two sections of the Holy Quran.
Islam permits polygamy under strict conditions. A man can take up to four wives on the condition that he treats them equally.
The defendant plead to the court that he was ignorant of the Islamic principle as having only completed elementary schooling.
“I find it hard to believe that he was unaware of such a major religious rule that even new-comers to the religion are aware of,” Judge Shaikh Salman Al Wida’ani said.
It was also noted that none of his relatives attended ceremonies of his marriages to foreign women.
During a raid in 2008, the man was found in seclusion with a woman at a furnished apartment in Ahad Al Masariha where he was unable to produce official documentation that the woman was his wife. The governor of Jizan, Prince Bin Nasser Bin Abdul Aziz, ordered the case to be investigated. Legal proceedings began once the investigating committee found him to have six wives at the same time, three of which were Saudi and married legally while the other three were Yemeni women he married illegally.