Indian national arrested for blasphemous Facebook post

Updated 05 March 2015

Indian national arrested for blasphemous Facebook post

The arrest of an Indian national in Jeddah, for allegedly posting a blasphemous image of the Kaaba on his Facebook page, has seen experts warn that such content violates the country’s cyber laws and can mean jail time and heavy fines.
Indian Consul General B.S. Mubarak confirmed that the Indian national has been jailed for violating the Kingdom’s cyber laws.
“This happened a month ago in Jeddah and the Saudi law enforcement authorities are currently conducting an investigation,” he told Arab News on Wednesday. “We are trying to help him in the best possible way,” he said.
According to legal experts, once the investigations are over, judgment would be pronounced and only then would the consulate be able to enter a plea on his behalf. The public prosecutor, according to a report in a local newspaper, is calling on the courts to punish the man severely for allegedly posting the blasphemous material.
Under the Kingdom’s cyber laws, anyone involved in the transmission or storage of material violating religious values and public morals, can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to SR3 million.
The image displayed on Facebook showed the Holy Kaaba plastered with Hindu deities. The image had created a furor in many Indian cities last year. The report said a Saudi national, shocked by the image, alerted the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia), and an investigation was launched.
The Indian expat was arrested by the police at the airport. He admitted that the Facebook page was his, but said that he had seen a link to the picture on another account and that he had to click “Like” to enable him to see it. The picture was automatically loaded onto his account for his followers to see, he said.
However, investigators decided that he was guilty of breaking the Kingdom’s cyber law by publishing an offensive picture. The Indian man is said to have been in the Kingdom for only two years and was working for a catering company in Jeddah.
Social media experts said people need to be very careful about posts on Facebook and Twitter.
“These are serious issues,” said Adnan Akram, a consultant with an online security firm. “You should never click on anything automatically. It can create havoc as in the case of this young man.”
Nadira Hussain, a mother of three and an enthusiastic user of Facebook, said she was horrified at one stage when her Facebook wall was plastered with nude images. “I didn’t know what to do. My children and close relatives were all horrified but it was some kind of virus. Even then, it left quite a scar on me and I stopped using Facebook altogether,” she said.
She said children should be educated about online behavior. “They may do something innocently, but the repercussions of their acts can be devastating,” she added.


Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2020

Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

  • COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia continue to fall, officials say

JEDDAH: Pilgrims who took part in this year’s Hajj must continue wearing electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.

The bracelet is designed to monitor pilgrims’ adherence to quarantine, as well as monitoring and recording their health status through the “Tatamman” app.
Pilgrims were required to quarantine before embarking on the Hajj and wore the bracelets to ensure they were obeying the self-isolation rules as part of strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The country continues to experience a decline in COVID-19 cases. Recorded infections remain below the 2,000 mark for the 10th day in a row. The Kingdom reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the number of those infected to 280,093 so far.
There are currently 35,091 active cases and six patients were admitted to critical care units, raising the number to 2,017. There were 32 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,949.
There were 1,972 new recoveries recorded, raising the total number of recoveries to 242,053.
More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. The total number of PCR tests conducted to date exceeds 3.47 million.

INNUMBERS

280,093 COVID-19 cases

242,053 Recoveries

35,091 Active cases

2,949 Total deaths

3.47m PCR tests

The Ministry of Health has been carrying out daily visits to health institutions in order to assess their level of commitment to anti-coronavirus measures, such as ensuring that staff adhere to social distancing, wear masks, and adopt the health practices and crisis management mechanisms recommended by authorities to protect patients and staff.
Teams have been dispatched to supervise the compliance of health facilities’ quarantine centers across Saudi Arabia and stepped up their visits to government and private hospitals to ensure their compliance with health protocols, sample transfers and staff testing as well as ensuring that all routine surgeries are stopped.
More than 5,000 violations have been recorded and violators were referred to committees. More than 150 facilities were temporarily shut down by the ministry until the proper protocols were implemented and the violations were fixed. A number of institutions were able to resume operations after settling fines.