Saudi court orders first naming of man guilty of sexual harassment

Image source, AFPImage caption, People found guilty of harassment in the kingdom face up to two years in prison and fines of $27,000

A court in Saudi Arabia has for the first time ordered that a man convicted of sexual harassment be named and shamed in public, local media report.

Yasser al-Arawi was found guilty by the Criminal Court in Medina of harassing a woman using obscene remarks.

He was sentenced to eight months in prison and fined $1,330 (£980).

The anti-harassment law was amended a year ago to allow for offenders' names and sentences to be published in local newspapers at their own expense.

Judges were left to decide whether the "gravity of the crime and its impact on society" warranted such a step.

The amendment was welcomed by many in the conservative Gulf kingdom at the time, with one commentator saying it was "long overdue".

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The law, which took effect in 2018, already stipulated penalties of up to two years in prison and fines of up to $27,000 for those found guilty of an act of sexual harassment. Repeat offenders face being imprisoned for up to five years and fined up to $80,000.

Despite these legal steps, some Saudi women have complained that authorities are still not doing enough to stop harassment.

One recently told the BBC that online comments on videos documenting incidents often blamed women for being harassed, and that victims were as likely to be punished as perpetrators.

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