Monday, 11 July 2016

Punishment for taking photos of Women in Saudi Arabia - Criminal Act

Several of the citizens of Jeddah have come out and expressed their extreme annoyance over the ever increasing phenomenon of taking pictures of the women during events and festivals in several of the governorates and provinces. The people have pointed out that this type of an action completely exposes the women, and the people have called upon the relevant authorities and the administrators of these festivals in order to impose a complete ban on taking photographs of the female visitors. They have also appealed to hold all violators of the rule accountable for their action.

A citizen also asked the Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Khaled bin Abdullah Al Musleh, about the opinion in light of the Sharia about taking photos of these women without their consent or knowledge during the events and festivals, and then publishing these photographs on to the social media websites with open access to the general public. The Islamic Scholar stated that in light of the Sharia law, the act of taking the photograph of the woman has been prohibited. He further added that taking photos of any people without having them informed or consented with, is prohibited and is also considered as a criminal act. The laws and rules have criminalized this sort of action and have also imposed a deterrent action against any and all people who are taking part in such an activity.

He added that in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, spying upon people has been strongly prohibited, due to the fact that it spreads rumors and other immorality within the community. Such an act is punishable in not only this life but also in the life here after. He also pointed out that taking the photograph of any woman without their prior knowledge will also instill a doubt or suspicion in the minds of the partners or spouses of these women. It is also important to mention that the majority of the people do not like the fact that pictures of their wives will be published on the social media for everybody to see (especially in the highly conservative Saudi society)

Abdul Karim Al Qadi, a legal adviser and Lawyer has stated that the action being discussed today is indeed punishable by law; however the exact punishment or duration of the punishment has been left up to the judge to decide. He added that everybody who has ever been exposed to such an act has the complete right to file a legal complaint with the criminal court against the photographer who took their picture.

Personally I was not aware that somebody could have the audacity in the Kingdom to take somebody else’s picture in public, that too of a woman and then publish it online. What is further worrying is that not many of these people have been caught or tried legally for their crimes. If such crimes are gone unanswered, then there will be nothing deterring such photographers from striking again, and the next time it could be somebody close to us.

Source: Arab News

Cyber Crimes
  1. SR 500,000 fine for sharing private videos of others on Social Media
  2. Taking Pictures as Hobby can lead you to Prison in Saudi Arabia
  3. SR 500,000 Fine for Street Photography
  4. 1 Year Jail for running a fake account with female name
  5. SR 500,000 Fine, 1 Year Jail - if your Facebook Status is defamatory


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