22 Apr 2012

Prison for mixing at malls

6:21 am on 22 April 2012

A newspaper in Saudi Arabia reports that anyone found guilty of harassing others in shopping centres will be sentenced to prison.

Mixing between unrelated men and women is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom has eased restrictions on men entering malls alone.

The Al-Watan daily reported on Saturday that the governor of Riyadh has ordered a sentence of five days in prison for a first offence.

The paper said subsequent offences will carry a sentence of 35 days in prison.

Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz last month relaxed curbs on single men entering shopping malls following complaints that they did not have enough to do in their spare time.

Religious police in Saudi Arabia patrol the streets to enforce the segregation of males and females.

But young males often try to bypass the strictures by handing telephone numbers to unaccompanied women or following them to convey interest.