SR1m fine and 5 years jail for violating coronavirus measures

May 05, 2020

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday stringent punitive measures against those violating precautionary and preventive regulations undertaken to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the new measures announced by the Ministry of Interior, a maximum fine of SR1million and jail term of five years will be awarded to those spreading rumors on social media sites and apps or publishing false information in order to cause panic or incite a violation of the pandemic related procedures and measures, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

An official source at the ministry stated that the new punitive measures have been taken in compliance with the royal decree, which was issued out of the concern for the health and safety of citizens and expatriates as well as to stem the spread of the pandemic.

The ministry announced the following penalties prescribed for violators from among the Saudi citizens and expatriates.

1- A fine ranging between SR1,000 and SR100,000 or imprisonment for a period ranging between one month and a year, or of both for individuals or private sector establishments or their employees or those dealing with it for violation of the coronavirus-related precautionary and preventive measures. The firm will be closed for a period not exceeding six months if it is necessary. In the event of a repeat of the violation, the penalty will be doubled. The penalty amount for each violation shall be determined according to a classification schedule that includes each violation and the corresponding penalty, and it shall be approved by the Minister of Interior in agreement with the Minister of Health.

2- A fine ranging between SR10,000 and SR100,000 or jail term from one month to one year or of both for those who misuse the permit or permission letter granted for movement during curfew time for purposes other than what is assigned it for. The permit will be withdrawn and permission letter will be revoked.

3- A maximum fine of SR200,000 or a maximum two-year jail term or of both for those who violate the instructions of medical isolation or quarantine. In the event of a repeat of the offense, the penalty imposed will be doubled.

4- A maximum fine of SR500,000 or maximum five-year jail term or both for those who deliberately transmit the coronavirus infection to others. In the event of a repeat of the offense, the penalty will be doubled.

5- A fine ranging between SR10,000 and SR100,000 or jail term from one month to one year, or of both for anyone who facilitates those whose nature of work or circumstances do not require obtaining a permit or permission letter for movement during the curfew time. In the event of a repeat of the offense, the penalty will be doubled.

The ministry said that expatriates who commit any of these violations will be deported from the Kingdom and their reentry into the Kingdom will be banned forever. The application of the penalties stipulated in the previous clauses shall not prejudice any other punishment prescribed by the Islamic Shariah or any other law.

The penalties such as fine, closure of the establishment and the deportation of expatriates will be imposed by a decision of the Minister of Interior or those authorized by him, and the number of penalties imposed in each region will be announced on a daily basis. In the event of cases relating to jail term for the violators, they will be referred to the Public Prosecution for the necessary action.

The Minister of Justice shall form one or more committees consisting of three legal experts to examine grievances against decisions to impose a fine or the closure of the establishment. The grievances shall be filed within 10 days from the date of receiving information about the decision, and the committee’s decision in this regard will be final and there is no provision to appeal against the decision. The jail term for the violators will be awarded after the end of the prevailing exceptional circumstances caused by the outbreak of corona pandemic.

The source also pointed out that the ministry will announce a regulation to prevent social gatherings, and whoever violates its provisions will be slapped with fine ranging between SR1,000 and SR100,000 or imprisonment between one month and a year, or of both.

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