Dubai: An Egyptian expat has been arrested in Saudi Arabia for harassing women in public places in Jeddah, Mecca police said.
The spokesman of Mecca region police said that security forces had successfully identified the person who documented his crimes. The man in his 40s was referred to Jeddah Public Prosecution.
Meanwhile, social media was flooded with videos and photos of people harassing women during the Saudi Arabia National Day celebrations on Thursday. This prompted the Ministry of Interior to issue a statement in which it vowed to punish the culprits.
One of the videos shows a young man harassing a female who pops out of her car window holding a Saudi flag, by approaching her and filming her. The video also shows the female trying to keep him away.
In another video, a large group of young men gather around a woman and harass her while she tries to get away from them.
Another video shows a young man touching the body of a woman before another man comes and stops the harasser. A woman wearing a niqab and abaya is harassed by a group of men in yet another video.
According to the Public Prosecution, the harassers can be jailed up to two years and fined 100,000 riyals (around $27,000). The ministry indicated on Friday that the penalty will be increased to five years in prison and a fine of 300,000 riyals, if harasser repeats his offence or harasses children and people with disabilities.
The May 2018 law defines sexual harassment as “all conduct of a sexual nature, including touching of the body and acting in a way that dishonours women, even on social media".
In most severe cases, involving children or disabled victims, the law allows penalties of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of 300,000 riyals. The law also criminalizes inciting or assisting harassment and falsely reporting offences.