Saudi to penalize men found beating their wives

Husbands found beating their wives could face a minimum of one year prison and a maximum jail sentence of one year

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Saudi Arabia will implement next week a law to help curb domestic violence in the kingdom, with men found guilty of beating their wives facing payment of compensation and possible prison terms, Arabiya.net has learned.

The minimum and maximum amounts of compensation for the offence were set at 5,000 Riyals ($1,340) and 50,000 Riyals ($13,000) respectively. Husbands found beating their wives could also face a minimum of one month prison and a maximum jail sentence of one year. Repeat offenders will face double the punishment.

Criminalizing the behavior falls under the umbrella of a recently introduced system for the protection against domestic violence in the kingdom.

Dr. Mohammad al-Harbi, the general director of Social Protection at the Social Affairs Ministry, told AlArabiya.net that the new system was “developed by jurists to ensure the highest standards.”

“Over a period of three months we held workshops in different areas in the country with participation from those involved in human rights and we also tasked a consultancy firm to prepare the [system] so that the ministry is not accused of having put in place everything,” he added.

He stressed that the ministry did not “interfere in drafting the regulations of the system.”

“The jurists and human rights groups set them,” he added.

Legislation aimed at protecting women, children and domestic workers against domestic violence was first passed in Saudi Arabia in late August.

The “Protection from Abuse" law was hailed as a landmark step in the kingdom which has faced criticism for not doing enough to prevent domestic violence.