The Dammam District Court has sentenced six young men to prison terms of between one and 15 months and lashes for sexually harassing several women at a mall in Dhahran on Oct. 22.
The court sentenced them on Thursday. One of the men was sentenced to five months in prison, two men to three months, four to one month in prison with lashes for two, and two months imprisonment for the sixth person. The seventh person, who is under 18, was sent to a juvenile center in Dammam for observation.
The court issued the sentences after the completion of an investigation and the confessions of the accused. The Eastern Province police tracked down the offenders after viewing videotape of the incident recorded by the mall in Dhahran.
There was a national outpouring of anger at the group of young men when a two-minute video went viral on the Internet showing the young men verbally and physically abusing five young women wearing black abayas and head scarves at the Mall of Dhahran.
The incident resulted in renewed calls for government to pass and enforce strict sexual harassment laws.
In 2005, four men were arrested, lashed and jailed for harassing women in Riyadh.
There were 2,797 cases of harassment against women in Saudi Arabia in 2012, involving 60 percent Saudi offenders and 40 percent foreigners, according to a news report published in August.
Riyadh ranked first with 650 cases, followed by Jeddah with 250, the Eastern Province with 210, Makkah with 180, and Madinah with 170.