Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SR 20,000 Fine and 70 Lashes for Insulting a Saudi on Whatsapp

On Tuesday, 17th March 2015, a woman aged 32 was sentenced to a horrifying punishment by the court in Saudi Arabia in Eastern Province for insulting a Saudi man on the famous social messaging application, Whatsapp.  The punishment was of 70 lashes and also charged SR 20,000 Saudi Riyals which makes up to USD 5,332 as a fine for the crime she committed. This was for compensation for the man whose reputation was ruined and offended. This verdict was passed by the criminal court in Al Qatif when the woman was found guilty of insulting and defaming the reputation of the Saudi man on Whatsapp.

The complainant was filed by the victim after a long argument with the woman. The nature of the disagreement and any details about the fight between the two that raged the Saudi man is not known yet, though it is heard that the woman sent a picture of herself driving in a public place to the man and as everyone knows women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, this might be the reason. The woman admitted that she sent insulting messages to the Saudi man and was found guilty but she rejected the court’s verdict. The woman’s nationality is also not disclosed.

Similar painful penalty news came up on the same day when another Saudi man divorced his wife on posting a sarcastic WhatsApp status about him. The Husband claimed that the wife wrote something related to praying to God for giving her strength to be patient followed by his initials. He explained that this was not the first time she tarnished his reputation. They already had distances in their relationship which is why he decided to divorce her before she speaks up much more about him and his life on social platform

This incident is not something new. There had been some similar cases in the past as well. One of them being in June last year where two women of the same family were sentenced to 10 days in jail and 20 lashes after insulting each other on Whatsapp.Because of these incidents Saudi Arabian government in 2013 considered banning WhatsApp and Skype because the country’s laws were not followed properly.  Someone from the Communications and Information Technology Commission in Saudi said that they have been communicating with such communication platforms including WhatsApp to get them to cooperate and abide with the Saudi telecom providers; however there wasn’t much success in this regard.

Some people believe that the government attempts to control WhatsApp because of the strict laws in the country on how men and women should interact.Among the laws of the Saudi Anti Cyber Crime Law is one which states that, whoever insults or inflicts damage upon others using various information technology devices shall be subjected to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding SR 500,000 or either punishment.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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