This unusual news has been doing the rounds lately. After a man had reported a 32 year old woman insulting and defaming him on Whatsapp, the Saudi court found the woman to be guilty and handed her 70 lashes as the punishment. The judged also imposed a hefty fine of 20,000 Saudi Riyal on the woman. The unnamed woman has admitted her guilt in defaming the man on Whatsapp but has rejected the punishment. The case was filed at the Al Qatif criminal court by the man following the argument.
The insulting remarks had been passed after a heated argument had taken place between the two. The reason of the dispute could not be known. Article Three of the Saudi Anti-Cyber Crime Law states that any person who commits ‘defamation and infliction of damage upon others’ using technological devices might have to face imprisonment for up to a year and a fine not exceeding 500,000 Saudi Riyal (£90,171).
This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has been in the news for bizarre and unprecedented court punishments on petty issues such as this. Last year in June, two Saudi women were found guilty of abusing and insulting each other on Whatsapp. This resulted in the court handing them a 10 day jail sentence and a 20 lashes each punishment. Previously in 2013, the Saudi government had thought over the option of banning Whatsapp from the kingdom altogether.
Saudi Arabia has been criticized by human rights groups around the world as well as civil societies for its strict observance of law. The punishments that are handed down in the Islamic kingdom also range from amputations to beheading to lashings and stoning to death. Always cited as a place where females are not allowed to pursue their desires with ease and comfort, Saudi Arabia is also the subject of international ridicule for its ban on female driving.