Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s consultative Shura Council will vote later this week a proposal for public naming of sex harassers as part of legal steps to fight sex offences in the country.
A similar motion was previously blocked amid opposition from some members of the council, who argued that naming the offender harms his family as well. Proponents, meanwhile, believe that introducing the name-and-shame penalty, already adopted in commercial wrongdoing in Saudi Arabia, would be a strong deterrence in sex offences.
The Shura Council is due Wednesday to hold a vote session on the proposal, based on a report from its Security Committee to add the suggested penalty to the anti-harassment legal system, Saudi news portal Sabq reported today.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has sought to fight sex offences and boost women’s rights as part of drastic reforms in the kingdom championed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia approved a law criminalising sexual harassment, making the act punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of SR300,000.
“The harassment crime is one of the most heinous acts that causes psychological harms to the victim. Several countries have enacted firm laws to deter harassers,” said Asil Al Jaid, a legal advisor. He told Sabq that there is no religious or legal prohibition for naming to shame such “criminals”.
The state Saudi Human Rights Commission has defined harassment as every verbal expression, deed or motion carrying sexual insinuation made by a person towards another referring to the body and honour or harming modesty in any way including modern technology methods.