Saudi Cabinet approves law criminalising harassment

Anyone convicted under the new law faces a fine of up to SAR300,000 ($80,000)



Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved an anti-harassment law on Tuesday, a day after it was given the green light by the consultative Shoura Council.

The timing of the new legislation is deemed of particular significance as it comes less than a month before the kingdom’s female driving ban is lifted.

Read: Saudi says ready to lift female driving ban next month

The law comprises eight articles to combat harassment, prevent it from occurring, punish the perpetrators and protect the victim’s privacy, dignity and personal freedom, according to a statement to Saudi Press Agency.

It has been created because of the “negative effects on the individual, the family and society” harassment can have.

Anyone convicted under the new law faces up to five years in a jail and a fine of SAR300,000 ($80,000).

Read: Saudi Shoura Council approves anti-harassment law

“The timing is important. Driving, although probably the main reason for it, is not the only one,” Shoura member Hoda Al-Helaissi told Arab News.

The legislation will officially become law when it is declared in a royal decree.

The lifting of the kingdom’s female driving ban comes as part of a wider reform agenda led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that has also seen the first cinemas in decades open and plans for new entertainment areas.

However, in recent weeks there have also been some concerns from international organisations following the arrest of several women’s rights campaigners.

Read: Saudi arrests revive concerns about reform agenda