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Saudi Shura Council set to vote on sexual harassment law

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The Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, also known as the Shura Council, will vote this month on a draft law that will set punishments in cases of sexual harassment.

Council member Sadaqa Fadel said the law classifies sexual offenses into categories and assigns particular punishments to each category. Fadel told Saudi al-Eqtisadya newspaper that punishments range from warning flogging and imprisonment.

The draft law came after Saudi Arabia, which has strict sex segregation rules, saw growing presence of women in various work places and after single men were allowed into shopping malls.

Fadel said there will be monitors in malls and in workplaces to watch for cases of sexual harassment and that monitoring will be conducted in accordance with Shariah law.

“Sexual harassment is a criminal offence whose perpetrator must be punished. The people who commit sexual offences are mostly men, but this does not mean that some women do not harass men, and this was taken into consideration in the new regulation,” Fadel said.

He added that the new draft law requires employers to separate between men and women in the workplace where both men and women are needed.