SAUDI ARABIA

Public Prosecution warns of heavy penalties against those spreading rumors

January 17, 2022

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — An official source at the Public Prosecution warned that spreading rumors and lies about matters related to public order is a major crime, and the perpetrators will be arrested and penalized.

The Public Prosecution has summoned a number of people within the Kingdom after they were found of being allegedly involved in spreading these lies unleashed by hostile parties abroad.

“Criminal procedures are under way against these people and stringent punitive measures, including up to five years in prison and fines amounting to up to SR3 million, will be imposed on the culprits,” the source said.

The source added that the penalties also include confiscation of the devices and tools used and publication of the final judgment in the local media at the expense of the convict.

The Public Prosecution’s warning came following the spread of rumors and offensive campaign targeting Saudi Arabia through social media after the recent postponement of the musical concert starring Korean band Stray Kids as part of the Riyadh Season2 after a massive sandstorm had engulfed the capital city.

The Public Prosecution stated that spreading rumors and lies about matters related to public order or inciting them or taking part in them through social media, especially those matters whose origins are from hostile parties managed from abroad, is considered as one of the major crimes that requires arrest in line with the Anti-Cyber Crime Law and the Law of Criminal Procedures, the source said in a statement.

The source said that it had monitored several fake accounts on social media that is involved in fabricating and instigating baseless rumors pertaining to one of the recent events, and that was with coordination and support from external hostile parties, which were found behind most of the monitored posts.

The source noted that some people from inside Saudi Arabia were found involved in circulating and inciting such rumors. The Public Prosecution summoned them and work is under way to complete the criminal procedures against them, the source said.

The source noted that anyone who incited, assisted or agreed to commit this crime would also have to face punitive measures.

The source called on everyone to receive information only from its official sources and not to get carried away by rumors or participate in their dissemination through the social media so as to avert facing consequences involving criminal accountability.

In this regard, the Public Prosecution affirmed that it will not tolerate anyone found to have been involved in such acts and that they will get maximum penalties prescribed by the Islamic Shariah and the law.

Meanwhile, an IT expert said that more than 3,000 tweets appeared under the hashtag #Sad_concert for Stray Kids,” aimed at bullying Saudi society, perpetrated by foreign elements through fake accounts on the Twitter platform.

This was after the postponement of the concert of the Korean K-pop powerhouse group Stray Kids by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) due to the inclement climatic conditions.

Speaking to Al-Arabiya.net, Abdul Rahman Abu Olayan said that most of the fake accounts originated from some countries, which are embroiled in military conflicts, as well as from some foreign terrorist organizations.

He pointed out that more than 7,000 fake accounts belonging to the elements of the organizations reacted with the hashtag, while more than 15,000 people liked it. The total number of accounts that participated in this offensive campaign through various social media platforms exceeded 174,000.

Abu Olayan also stressed that there are agencies within these organizations that are working with an agenda aimed at harming the Saudi identity to destabilize society and the country.


January 17, 2022
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