Operation to take Hodeidah essential for Yemenis, security of Red Sea: Saudi ambassador to US

File photo showing Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US, Prince Khalid bin Salman, arriving at Capitol Hill in Washington. (Reuters)
Updated 14 June 2018

Operation to take Hodeidah essential for Yemenis, security of Red Sea: Saudi ambassador to US

  • Prince Khalid: 'Coalition operations to liberate Hodeidah aim to support the freedom of Yemenis against the Houthi militia.'
  • 'Operations to re-take Hodeidah are important to secure Red Sea maritime routes.'

LONDON: The Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman defended the coalition advance on Hodeidah, assuring the world that it was done to secure Yemen and maritime routes in the Red Sea.

Prince Khalid said that the "operations to liberate the city of Hodeidah are in line with the support delivered by the Saudi-led Arab coalition to the Yemeni people, and a way to support their freedom against the militia supported by Iran bent on sowing chaos and destruction in the country."

The Saudi ambassador was speaking as operation ‘Golden Victory’ launched by the Saudi-led coalition to re-take Hodeidah port and town has been gaining momentum after Yemeni forces, backed by coalition air power, advanced to areas south of Hodeidah on Yemen’s western Red Sea coast. Yemeni forces on Wednesday got closer to Hodeidah after taking control of the suburb of Nekheila south of the town.

Prince Khalid added in a separate tweet that the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Hodeidah are important in light of the increased threat the militias controlling the port have been posing for maritime security in the Red Sea. The ambassador noted that Hodeidah port, which is on the Red Sea close to the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, "is a vital waterway through which 15 percent of world trade passes annually as well as regional trade and commerce." He added that "Iran-backed Houthi militia have launched repeated attacks on commercial and military ships belonging to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the US."

In later tweets, Prince Khalid reminded the world that "the Kingdom has been and will continue to be at the forefront of humanitarian efforts to support the brotherly people of Yemen." He added that Saudi Arabia has supported Yemen all along and "these efforts included the recent contribution of $1.5 billion to UN relief efforts in Yemen, the largest in UN history, as well as initiatives to enhance the capacity of ports throughout Yemen including facilitiating the entry of cranes into Hodeidah." The ambassador reiterated his country’s position regarding an end to the conflict, saying that "the most effective solution to the situation in Hodeidah, and in Yemen, is for the Houthi militias to adhere to UNSC resolution 2216 which calls for the unconditional withdrawal from all occupied cities."

He added that Houthi militias continue to obstruct UN mediation efforts to end the conflict, leading special UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffith to propose handing over control of Hodeidah port to the UN, which is the same proposal made by the coalition many months ago.


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

Updated 01 October 2020

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.”