Saudi Women To Be Jailed If They Check Their Husband’s Phone Without Permission

Saudi Arabian women will have to risk going to jail if they conceive a thought of checking their husband’s mobile phones.

According to the Independent, the offense would be prosecuted as a violation of privacy because it is not covered in the country’s Islamic laws, senior lawyer Mohammad al-Temyat has said.

Saudi women who peek at their husband’s phone without permission may get three months in jail in addition to a fine ranging from Dh3,000 ($816.78) to Dh5,000 ($1,361.30), lawyers said. The violators can be prosecuted under Federal Penal Code No 380, which protects the privacy and freedom. This rule is applicable to both spouse, Gulf News reported.

According to Gulf News, clarification from the authorities came on the aftermaths of social media channels circulating in the UAE, warning wives of legal consequences if they inspect phones of their husbands without their permission. Many woman inquired about the credibility of such information, the lawyer said.

This issue of privacy is rather controversial in the Islamic Kingdom, this issue managed to get vocal response from people leading to almost 35,000 tweets under a trending Arabic hashtag which translates as “Flogging of A Woman Checking Her Husband’s Phone”.

The Family Security Program is part of the Health Affairs branch of the Ministry of National Guard, and was established by Royal decree in 2005. This new “legal guidance” runs comes in contrast against attempts towards reform in the Islamic country which was a chief focus for the king Salman.

Lawyer Mohammad Al Owaisi told Gulf News that the law in the UAE protects privacy and criminalizes anyone who breaches it, even if the violator and the victim are couples.

He also highlighted the fact in Article 380 dealing with breach of privacy can be applied if someone discloses or spreads information stored on a victim’s mobile phone.

“The law does not mention couples specifically, but checking mobile phones without permission falls under the purview of this law,” he explained.

Al Owaisi recalls his dealings with similar cases. He particularly talked about cases where an Arab woman who lodged a divorce case at a court. She had submitted pictures of phone call logs, messages, bank statements and other private documents taken from her husband’s phone and submitted them to the court as evidence.

Saudi Arab is known to be particularly harsh while formulating laws for women. Under Saudi law, a woman is deprived of several rights, including the right to drive a car and to leave the home without a male chaperon.

According to Deccan chronicle, the adviser though attempted to clear all the confusions regarding the law.

“I would like to clarify that this subject involves the husband and the wife and it is a Ta’zir offence [sic] so it is possible that there is a flogging, a fine, imprisonment, just signing a pledge or even nothing. It is a Ta’zir offence [sic] not identified legally, so the punishment is dependent on the damage caused from it. If there was no damage caused, there could be no punishment,” he said.

This new interpretation of law has met with mixed reaction. A female twitter user said “They [men] get annoyed of women ‘only’ checking her husband’s phone, whilst a woman lives all of her life in an ‘inquisition’. Whether that is regarding her clothing, sayings or behaviour [sic].”

Another twitter user Salim voiced his opinion on the micro blogging site saying that in order to make marital life “less complicated, a husband should share his private life with his life so they can live a life free from suspicion and doubt”.

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