Stock crime police jailed
Saudi authorities have in recent months exposed several cyber offences. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Cairo: A Saudi court has sentenced a citizen to one year in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of SR100,000, prosecutors said, for spreading false information online.

The investigation revealed that the man had spread rumors and raised doubts about the effectiveness and safety of a medicinal product approved by competent agencies by sharing "erroneous and imprecise" information on his personal social media account. He was charged with violating the kingdom's anti-cyber crime law.

“Any violation of the cyber security and safety through unlawful behaviour harming society and spreading misleading information is liable to legal accountability,” public prosecution said.

Saudi authorities have in recent months exposed several cyber offences.

In September, seven people, including two expatriates, were arrested in the Saudi capital Riyadh for mimicking police in a video and posting it on social media.

The suspects– five Saudis, a Yemeni and a Chadian – were apprehended by the Riyadh police for having presented assignments undertaken by security men in “inappropriate comic video scenes at a commercial store,” a security statement said.

Investigations showed that the offenders had acted with the aim of increasing their followers on social media, a spokesman for the Riyadh police said at the time.

In August, a Saudi state media watchdog summoned a snapchat user for questioning over featuring a content deemed immoral and slanderous.

The female user in question had allegedly appeared in clips including offensive slurs against others, Saudi media reported.

The General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) reportedly summoned the girl, whose age or name was not disclosed, and completed her official data before referring her to public prosecution.

The offence is punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of SR3 million, or one of the two penalties according to the Saudi anti-cyber crime law.

In July, GCAM summoned a celebrated female TikToker accused of making racial comments in a recent broadcast and violating electronic media rules in the kingdom.

Okaz newspaper reported in August that a prosecution-linked monitoring centre keeps an eye round the clock on material transmitted on social media to spot any “criminalised activity”.