Saudi Mosque Imam Cleared for Sexual Harassment Charges

Makkah, MINA – A court in the Makkah region issued a ruling that acquitted an imam of a mosque, from charges of sexually harassing his housemaid.

The court dismissed the case on the grounds that the plaintiffs failed to provide sufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations. According to the verdict that was read out, the High Court finally upheld the decision and gave final approval.

Saudi Gazette reported on Wednesday, the Public Prosecutor referred the case to the court after carrying out an investigation into the harassment complaint filed against the mosque’s imam, who is a Saudi citizen.

In the history of rulings, a Saudi court recently convicted a man of sexual harassment by name-naming and publicly humiliating him, in addition to imprisonment and a fine.

The Criminal Court in Medina sentenced Yasser Muslim Al-Arawi to eight months in prison and a fine of 5,000 Saudi riyals for harassing a woman using obscene words.

It is the first verdict by a Saudi court to name and humiliate perpetrators in a sexual harassment case. This comes after the Council of Ministers approved a law calling for the open disclosure of the identity of individuals found guilty of sexual harassment.

In January 2021, the Council of Ministers added a new paragraph to Article 6 of the Royal Anti-Harassment Act. This update states, decisions in sexual harassment cases will be summarized in local newspapers by revealing the identity of the convict.

A former member of the Public Prosecution, Lawyer Saleh Al-Ghamdi, said the Anti-Harassment Law which was passed in May 2018 consists of seven articles. Article 6 was amended by adding paragraph 3 in accordance with a royal decree issued in January 2021.

The amendment reads as follows, “It is permitted to include a penalty penalty to determine the sentence referred to in this article and to publish its summary of the identity of the person convicted in one or more local newspapers, or by other appropriate means, according to the gravity of the crime and its impact on society, and this will happen after the final verdict in the case has been issued.”

He noted that the text of Paragraph 1 Article 6 stipulates that anyone who commits the crime of harassment will be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years and a fine not exceeding 100,000 riyals or one of these two sentences. The sentence will apply to both male and female prisoners.

On the other hand, attorney Kholoud Al-Ahmadi said Article 1 of the Law defines a criminal act of harassment as any statement, act or sign that has a sexual connotation on the part of a person against another person and it is 3 bodily touch or honor, or violates decency, in any way. including through various means of modern technology.

The criminal court is responsible for issuing sentences for the crime of harassment after referring the case by the Public Prosecutor. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)