Abu Dhabi: Saudi Police have arrested three citizens after they harassed women in a public place in the capital Riyadh, took a video of the offence and posted it on social media, police said.
Major Khaled Al Kreidis, assistant spokesperson for the Riyadh police, said the security authorities identified the three men who appeared in a video clip circulating on social media, as they were harassing a group of women with sexual connotations in a public place.
He added legal measures have been taken against them according to article 6 of the Law on Combating Sexual Harassment, to refer them to the Public Prosecution.
In 2018, the Shura Council of Saudi Arabia, the country’s formal consultative body, has approved a law to criminalise sexual harassment in the kingdom.
The aims of the measure are “fighting the crime of harassment, preventing it, punishing perpetrators and protecting victims in order to preserve the privacy, dignity and individual freedoms as guaranteed by Islamic jurisprudence and regulations in place”.
The law provides for penalties of up to two years in prison and fines which could amount to 100,000 riyals. In some cases, such as repeat offenders, the sentence could be increased to five years in prison and fines of up to 300,000 riyals.
The bill, which preserves the anonymity of alleged victims, also criminalises incitement to sexual harassment, as well as falsely reporting an incident to the authorities.
It also stipulates alleged victims cannot withdraw a complaint or fail to report an incident to the police.
The document also creates an obligation for public and private institutions to make all necessary arrangements to prevent harassment.