Saudi Arabia: In a first, defamation ruling issued against sexual harasser

Riyadh: For the first time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s history, a Saudi court ruled to defame a convict in a case of sexual harassment, which approved last year a law allowing defamation of those convicted of these cases, local media from the gulf country reported on Monday.

According to the Arabic daily Al-Madinah, the Criminal Court in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah sentenced Yasser Muslim Muhammad Al-Aroui to prison and a fine for harassing a woman.

The decision stipulated that Al-Aroui be imprisoned for eight months and a fine of 5,000 Saudi riyals, and the publication of his sentence.

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In January 2021, the Saudi government has approved a new amendment to the anti-harassment system, which included publishing the name of the offenders and the punishment in local media at their own expense.

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.

In recent years, the Kingdom has sought to combat sexual crimes and promote women’s rights as part of the kingdom’s radical reforms called for by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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