Saudi Cabinet approves anti-sex harassment law

Saudi Arabia stops new business with Germany over its pro Iran policy

Saudi Cabinet approves anti-sex harassment law

Although Saudi Arabia's state news agency claimed it was a shooting down of a toy dronethat had gotten too close to the royal property, some wondered if the gunfire was in fact a coup led by royals against King Salman.

Individuals convicted of assisting someone else with harassment will also be punished under the new legislation.

The lifting of the ban on women drivers is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reform programme.

Rawan Al-Jabri, 26, a Saudi national, said: "This is not a privilege as much as a basic right for all women".

Saudi Arabia's Shura Council, the Kingdom's legislative advisory body, has passed a draft anti-harassment law, which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 300,000 Saudi Riyals. The members have been prosecuted on vague charges, including disparaging and insulting judicial authorities, inciting public opinion, insulting religious leaders, participating in setting up an unlicensed organization, and violating the cybercrime law.

Last year's decision to end the ban on women driving cars, set to take effect on June 24, has been hailed as proof of a progressive trend in the kingdom.

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She had proposed a number of additional articles on the law on the protection of witnesses and of the identity of those who report harassment, the provision of social and psychological support to the victims of harassment, and raising awareness of the provisions of the law.

The sexual harassment legislation requires a royal decree to become law. Under the leadership of King Salman, the kingdom has pushed forward an agenda that aims to remove numerous traditional restrictions on women's participation in society.

The anti-harassment law comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is facing criticism for detaining women's rights activists and branding them as traitors simply for their activism.

Among those still detained are Lojain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Najfan, Aziza al-Yousef, Mohammed al-Rabea and Ibrahim Modaimeegh.

Human rights groups questioned MBS's reform agenda earlier this month following the latest arrests.

"We urge the Saudi Arabian authorities to reveal their locations, and ensure their rights to due process guarantees", United Nations human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell said, according to Reuters. "We call on the authorities to release all human rights activists immediately".

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