|Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council, which advises the cabinet, approved a draft law which would introduce a prison term of up to five years and a penalty of 300,000 riyals for sexual harassment, weeks before the decades-long ban on women driving is lifted. – AFP Photo|Viet Nam News
RIYADH — Saudi Arabia is preparing to outlaw sexual harassment, officials said Tuesday, less than a month before the conservative kingdom lifts its decades-long ban on women driving.
The kingdom’s Shura Council, which advises the cabinet, approved a draft law on Monday which would introduce a prison term of up to five years and a penalty of 300,000 riyals ($80,000).
The draft bill "is a very important addition to the history of regulations in the kingdom", Shura Council member Latifa al-Shaalan was quoted as saying in an information ministry statement.
"It fills a large legislative vacuum, and it is a deterrent," she added.
The kingdom’s driving ban on women is slated to end June 24, as part of a highly publicised liberalisation drive launched by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who styles himself as a progressive reformer.
The prince has also lifted a decades-long ban on cinemas, allowed mixed-gender concerts and clipped the powers of the long-feared religious police. – AFP