Saudi law making sexual harassment a crime to take effect within days

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki and other officials field questions during a press conference on Thursday on the newly approved law against sexual harassment. (SPA)

  • The Council of Ministers approved the anti-sexual harassment measure during its meeting, chaired by King Salman, in Jeddah last Tuesday.
  • Under the new law, sexual harassment is punishable by a jail sentence of up to five years and a SR300,000 ($80,000) fine.

RIYADH: The implementation of the anti-sexual harassment law will be take effect within days after its publication in the Official Gazette, the spokesman of the Ministry of Interior said on Thursday.
The Council of Ministers approved the measure during its meeting, chaired by King Salman, in Jeddah last Tuesday.
The measure was earlier endorsed by the Saudi Shoura Council.
In a press conference on Thursday, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki explained that the measure also takes into account children under the age of 18 and people with special needs.
“Any person who has been subjected to (sexual) harassment or has been a witness of it, should inform the competent authorities,” he said.
Harassment may be considered to have happened in public areas, work places, schools, care centers, orphanages, homes, and social media, he said.
Sexual harassment may be in the form of words or actions that hint at sexuality, coming from one person to another that evokes the body, honor or modesty of a person  any way, including modern technical means, he said.
Under the new law, sexual harassment is punishable by a jail sentence of up to five years and a SR300,000 ($80,000) fine.
Al-Turki said the law also provides protection to the privacy of victims.
“We have information that there are a lot of people who are hesitant to report harassments because of the consequences of privacy. The system provides confidentiality to protect the harassed,” he said.
He also warned the public to be careful now in using emojis or smileys in social media.
“The law is clear, anything that is sexually related or within sexual context will be taken into consideration. Everyone understands what sexual harassment is,” he said.

source:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1313521/saudi-arabia

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