JEDDAH: Two men have been arrested after videos were posted online that appeared to show them drinking a disinfectant liquid not intended for human consumption, giving the false impression that it can protect against the coronavirus.
Police arrested the men, both of whom are Saudi citizens in their 30s, in Riyadh and Qassim on the orders of the Saudi Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution. The videos they appeared in were made and shared independently of each other.
“With reference to the videos circulated on social media, two men appeared to boast and pretend to drink a solution of a highly concentrated detergent, and published them without regard for the consequences and seriousness of its effect on the public,” said Lt. Col. Shaker Al-Tuwaijri and Lt. Col. Bader Al-Suhaibani, spokesmen for the police in Riyadh and Qassim.
Prosecutors ordered the arrests on the grounds that the men’s actions went against Islam and the law, because they intentionally exposed themselves to the risk of serious harm or death, could influence children to mimic their actions and harm themselves, and incited behavior that could harm public health and order.
Both cases have been referred to the courts. The men face sentences of up to five years in jail and fines of up to SR3 million ($800,000), in accordance with article 6 of the Saudi Anti-Cyber Crimes Law. Their actions are also alleged to be in violation of the nation’s Child Protection System.
The Public Prosecution urged the public to maintain a sense of national responsibility and awareness about the content they share on social media, and not to post anything that violates the Anti-Cyber Crime Law.
It stressed that it will not tolerate any transgressions and continues to closely monitor social-media sites, checking in particular for anything detrimental to public health or in violation of related regulations.