Schools and universities closed in Riyadh and surrounding provinces due to sandstorm

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A sandstorm hit Riyadh Tuesday evening. (SPA)
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A sandstorm hit Riyadh Tuesday evening. (SPA)
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A sandstorm hit Riyadh Tuesday evening. (SPA)
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A sandstorm hit Riyadh Tuesday evening. (SPA)
Updated 14 February 2018

Schools and universities closed in Riyadh and surrounding provinces due to sandstorm

DUBAI: The Riyadh education department on Wednesday has announced the closure of all schools and universities in the capital, and the provinces affiliated with Ramah and Thadig and Muzahmip and Hremala and Daraia and Hrdma, Saudi state-run news agency.
The administration explained that the suspension of studies was due to the sandstorm, with the Saudi General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection issuing the decision to ensure the safety of students.
The Saudi met office said the storm would likelycontinue for a few more days, with southern winds to hit speeds of 55km/h.
Temperatures are expected to drop in the central and eastern regions of Saudi Arabia with low visibility due to the thick dust in the air.
But airline traffic won’t be affected by the storms, according to Director of the department of information and public relations in the airport Turki Al-Dheeb.


Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

Updated 54 min 28 sec ago

Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

  • It will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools

JEDDAH: Violations of Saudi Arabia’s anti-sexual harassment laws could be punished by “naming and shaming” following a decision by the Kingdom’s Shoura Council to approve a defamation penalty.

The council voted in favor of the penalty during its session on Wednesday after previously rejecting the move in March this year.

Council member Latifah Al-Shaalan said the proposal to include the penalty was sent by the Saudi Cabinet.

Saudi lawyer Njood Al-Qassim said she agrees with the move, adding that it will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools.

“The penalty will be imposed according to a court ruling under the supervision of judges, and according to the gravity of the crime and its impact on society,” Al-Qassim told Arab News.

“This will be a deterrent against every harasser and molester,” she said.

Al-Qassim said that legal experts are required to explain the system and its penalties to the public.

“The Public Prosecution has clarified those that may be subject to punishment for harassment crimes, including the perpetrator, instigator and accessory to the crime, the one who agreed with the harasser, malicious report provider, and the person who filed a malicious prosecution lawsuit,” she added.

“The Public Prosecution also confirmed that attempted harassment requires half the penalty prescribed for the crime,” said Al-Qassim.

In May 2018, the Shoura Council and Cabinet approved a measure criminalizing sexual harassment under which offenders will be fined up to SR100,000 ($26,660) and jailed for a maximum of two years, depending on the severity of the crime. 

In the most severe cases, where the victims are children or disabled, for example, violators will face prison terms of up to five years and/or a maximum penalty of SR300,000.

Incidents that have been reported more than once will be subject to the maximum punishment. 

The law seeks to combat harassment crimes, particularly those targeting children under 18 and people with special needs.

Witnesses are also encouraged to report violations and their identities will remain confidential.

The law defines sexual harassment as words or actions that hint at sexuality toward one person from another, or that harms the body, honor or modesty of a person in any way. It takes into account harassment in public areas, workplaces, schools, care centers, orphanages, homes and on social media.

“The legislation aims at combating the crime of harassment, preventing it, applying punishment against perpetrators and protecting the victims in order to safeguard the individual’s privacy, dignity and personal freedom which are guaranteed by Islamic law and regulations,” a statement from the Shoura Council said.

Council member Eqbal Darandari, who supports the law, said on Twitter that the defamation penalty has proven its effectiveness in crimes in which a criminal exploits a person’s trust.

“The defamation of one person is a sufficient deterrent to the rest,” she said.

Social media activist Hanan Abdullah told Arab News the decision “is a great deterrent for every harasser since some fear for their personal and family’s reputation, and won’t be deterred except through fear of defamation.”

The move will protect women from “uneducated people who believe that whoever leaves her house deserves to be attacked and harassed,” she said.

“Anyone who is unhappy with this decision should look at their behavior.”