06/23/2010, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia, four men and 11 women socialize: sentenced to prison and lashes

Only a girl will not be held because a minor, but will be punished with 80 lashes. Saudi law forbids socializing between unrelated men and women.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Four men and 11 women in the city of Ha'il, northern Saudi Arabia, were sentenced on June 22 for "socializing" at a party. Each individual was judged by the court and received a sentence of one to two years in prison and an unspecified number of lashes. Only one of the four women did not go to prison being a juvenile, but will be punished with 80 lashes.

Saudi law is based on a strict interpretation of Islam and forbids men and women who are not related to each other to socialize. Punishment for such cases are very frequent in the country.

In early June, a court sentenced a twenty year old to four months in jail and 90 lashes for having kissed and hugged a woman in a mall. The boy was also banned from entering shopping malls for two years. In March, a Syrian woman of 75 years was sentenced to 40 lashes and four months in prison after police found her at home with two men. The woman said to have asked the two men, who were long standing friends, to bring her "five slices of bread." The two men were sentenced.  

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