The Saudi Arabia Interior Ministry is planning to roll out a new anti-harassment system as soon as this week.
Security spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki told local media that the anti-harassment system would be launched within days, following approval by the Council of Ministers.
Private sector to take measures
Major general al-Turki said that harassment is a criminal offense in the kingdom, according to the provisions of Islamic law, pointing out that the system of combating the crime of harassment takes into account persons who are less than 18 years of age and people with special needs. He said the system punishes anyone against whom a written complaint about the crime of harassment is provided and against any person who agrees or helps to commit it, stressing the confidentiality of dealing with the communications, as the authorities are keen to pay attention to the confidentiality of information related to the crimes and protect the victim. The system is to be binding on the public and private sectors which will have to take measures to prevent harassment. A government body will monitor and supervise the private sector, and ensure its commitment to the system and related procedures. A jail sentence of up to five years and a 300,000 riyals ($80,000) fine will be introduced.
A bit of context
The statement from the Shura Council said the legislation ‘aims at combating the crime of harassment, preventing it, applying punishment against perpetrators and protecting the victims in order to safeguard the individual's privacy, dignity and personal freedom which are guaranteed by Islamic law and regulations.’ On 24 June, the kingdom’s ban on women driving is due to be lifted, though activists were arrested last month with some released yesterday. Speculation is also rife in the kingdom that the reforming crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has been the target of a shooting incident last month. However, the UK government announced that on Saturday prime minister Theresa May had spoken to the crown prince by phone on Saturday, although whether they discussed arrests was not revealed.