Social media slur: 170 put on trial


By Adnan Al-Shabrawi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

The Criminal Court in Jeddah considered more than 75 lawsuits involving about 170 men and women for abuses, badmouthing and defaming on social media.

Judicial sources said the court has issued rulings in most of these cases. A Saudi woman was sentenced to 10 whiplashes for badmouthing another, they said.

Two women were whipped for exchanging abuses on WhatsApp, in addition to a man who used WhatsApp to slander his ex-wife.

The sources said another man was sentenced to 40 whiplashes for sending abusive messages to his former wife.

They said the court has also looked into cases of blackmailing on Snapchat and Instagram as well as posting porn clips on WhatsApp.

Lawyer Saleh Misfir Al-Ghamdi said verbal abuse against officials and celebrities through tweets and messages on social media were dealt with harshly in the court so as to deter others from doing the same. He said the Supreme Judicial Council has decided that cases of abuse on social media would be heard by criminal courts as they constitute electronic crimes in nature.

Sumyya Al-Hindi, a woman lawyer, warned people against using WhatsApp and other Internet applications for abusing others and said the punishments for such crimes might be imprisonment and hefty fines.