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Home News Saudi sex harasser named and shamed under new law

Saudi sex harasser named and shamed under new law

Published on January 12, 2022

A Saudi has been named in a newspaper after his conviction for sexual harassment, in an apparent first under new laws tackling a subject that is often seen as taboo.

A court in the Muslim holy city of Medina ordered the public identification of Yasser Muslim Al-Arawi, who was named in the privately owned Okaz newspaper after he was sentenced to eight months in prison and fined 5,000 riyals ($1,300).

Saudi Arabia only started penalising sexual harassment in 2018, as the conservative kingdom embarked on wide-ranging social reforms including allowing women to drive.

Okaz and state-owned Al-Ekhbariya TV said it was the first application of an amendment that allows courts to order a judgement to be published in local press.

Al-Arawi was found guilty of “touching from behind, verbally assaulting and harassing” the victim, the Okaz report said.

Naming and shaming is sometimes used as a punishment in other cases in rich Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, where the risk of a fine is not seen as a deterrent.

Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler in 2017, Saudi women have enjoyed new freedoms including driving, travelling alone or attending sports and entertainment events alongside men.

However, the opening up has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent with women’s rights advocates among those who have been imprisoned or otherwise targeted.