Manama: A court in Saudi Arabia has handed a woman a fine of SR20,000 (Dh20,000) and 70 lashes for insulting and defaming a man on messaging application WhatsApp.

A source at the criminal court in Al Qatif in Eastern Saudi Arabia said the verdict was pronounced after it found the 32-year-old woman guilty of tarnishing the reputation of the complainant through the application, local daily Okaz reported on Monday.

The case had been filed by the Saudi man following an argument with the woman whose nationality was not mentioned, but the source did not explain the nature of the disagreement.

The defendant admitted she had insulted the man, but she reportedly rejected the court ruling.

Under Article Three of the Saudi Anti-Cyber Crime Law, a person who commits who defames or inflicts damage upon others through the use of various information technology devices “shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding SR 500,000 or to either punishment.”

In July last year, two women in the Red Sea city of Jeddah were sentenced to 10 days in jail and 20 lashes for insulting each other using WhatsApp.

The judge issued the verdict after he saw the messages exchanged by the two women who are reportedly cousins.

The case reached the judge after one of the women sued the other for allegedly insulting her and slandering her reputation.

Even though the judge sought to end the dispute between the two cousins amicably, neither woman wanted to apologise.