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Judicial CP - April 2005

Corpun file 16351

Arab News, Jeddah/Riyadh/Dhahran, 16 April 2005

Stiff Punishments Await Camphone Misusers

By P.K. Abdul Ghafour
Arab News

JEDDAH, 16 April 2005 — Saudi Arabia will deal strongly with people misusing camera mobiles as a draft bylaw proposed 12-year jail sentence, SR100,000 fine and 1,000 lashes for those circulating pornographic photos of women through the phone.

In January this year, the high court in Riyadh sentenced two young Saudis to prison terms and flogging for orchestrating and filming a Nigerian driver sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl. The scandal, which shocked Saudi society, broke out after the accused circulated footage of the assault through camphones.

The law is likely to be endorsed by the 150-member Shoura Council shortly. “The Shoura has already debated its articles in previous sessions and a special panel is currently looking at matters related to taking photos by the phone and circulating them among the public,” Al-Eqtisadiah business daily said quoting a source.

The source said the new law would include a number of regulations to prevent misuse of camera mobile phones in the country. As per the regulations already discussed by the Shoura, a person convicted of distributing pornographic photos will be jailed for three months and fined SR20,000 and his phone will be confiscated.

“If a person repeats the offense, the punishment will be doubled as the jail sentence will be increased to six months and fine to SR40,000,” the source said, adding that he will also be given 100 lashes publicly.

If a person commits the same offense for the third time, the punishments would be further doubled, with 12-month jail, SR80,000 fine and 200 lashes. Moreover, his photograph will also be publicized in the press.

“We hope citizens and expatriate residents would welcome these tough regulations in order to prevent misuse of camera mobiles,” the source said.

The Kingdom overturned a ban on the import and sale of mobile camera phones last December. Even before the ban was lifted, the phones had been used in many cases to invade privacy, particularly of women, prompting fights at markets, wedding halls, schools and other public places as well as triggering family disputes.

The government is currently studying new laws to regulate the use of third generation mobile phones in the country after reports that some people were misusing the facility.


Copyright: Arab News © 2003 All rights reserved.

Corpun file 15686

Amnesty International press release, 29 April 2005

Saudi Arabia to flog 'gay wedding' attendees


Amnesty International has issued an 'urgent action' appeal on behalf of at least 35 men at risk of being flogged in Saudi Arabia for having attended a "gay wedding".

According to a recent Agence France Presse report, the sentences were imposed after the "gay wedding" took place in Jeddah in March. The men could be flogged at any time. Amnesty International believes the men may be prisoners of conscience, punished solely for their sexual orientation.

Four of the men (two Saudi Arabians, a Jordanian and a Yemeni) were sentenced by a court in Jeddah to 2,000 lashes and two years' imprisonment, and 31 others to 200 lashes and six months to one year in prison. The report did not give any names or any further information as to the identity of the 35. The information was apparently provided by a source close to one of the defendants.

Amnesty International has written to the Minister of the Interior seeking clarification of the report, expressing concern that the men have apparently been sentenced to flogging, and appealing for any such sentences to be commuted.

Flogging is mandatory in Saudi Arabia for a number of offences, including sexual offences, and can also be used at the discretion of judges as an alternative or addition to other punishments. Sentences can range from dozens to thousands of lashes, and are usually administered 30 or 50 lashes at a time, at intervals ranging from two weeks to one month.


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