Saudi Arabia court names and shames sexual harasser in landmark ruling

The criminal court in Madinah sentenced Yasser Mussalam Al Arwe to eight months in prison and fined him 5,000 riyals for verbally harassing a woman

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 23, 2014, the flag of  Saudi Arabia is hoisted onto the world's tallest flagpole in Jeddah.   The US Commission on International Religious Freedom on April 26, 2019, urged action against ally Saudi Arabia after its mass execution of 37 people, most of them Shiite Muslims. The Commission, whose members are appointed by the president and lawmakers across party lines but whose role is advisory, said the State Department "must stop giving a free pass" to Saudi Arabia.
 / AFP / STR
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A court in Saudi Arabia has ruled to name and shame a man convicted for sexual harassment, a first ruling nearly a year after the kingdom amended its anti-sexual harassment laws.

The criminal court in Madinah sentenced Yasser Mussalam Al Arwe to eight months in prison and imposed a fine of 5,000 riyals for verbally harassing a woman.

Last January, Saudi Arabia amended its anti-harassment laws to include publishing the name of the offenders and the punishment in local media at their own expense.

The changes to the rules came in a statement from Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet which added a new paragraph to Article 6 of the kingdom’s Anti-Harassment Law, stating that the judgment may be summarised in local newspapers at the expense of the convict.

“It is permissible to include the sentence issued determining the penalties referred to in this article and to publish its summary at the expense of the convicted person in one or more local newspapers, or in any other appropriate means, according to the gravity of the crime and its impact on society,” read the amended article to the law.

The amendment also includes clauses against those who file false harassment claims.

Saudi Arabia’s Anti-Harassment Law came into effect in 2018 and stipulated severe penalties, including imprisonment for up to five years and heavy fines on convicted persons, but did not include at the time articles that allow for the naming and shaming of harassers.

Updated: January 10, 2022, 2:35 PM