Saudi Arabia wants to stop sexual harassment in its streets. The government of the ultraconservative kingdom has approved a law that punishes with up to five years in prison and fines of up to 300,000 riyals (about $80,000) to those who commit abuses against women, in the middle of a campaign of arrests of activists who claimed the right of women to drive.

The norm -approved already by the Council of the Shura, a parliamentary assembly of consultative nature- now awaits the last obstacle, the royal decree. The legal text is composed of eight articles that “seek to combat the crime of harassment, prevent it, impose punishments on its perpetrators and protect the victims with the aim of safeguarding their privacy, dignity and personal freedom guaranteed by Islamic law and civil norms” , details a statement from the Shura.

The public body recognizes that the new rule “occupies a large legislative vacuum” and will act as “a deterrent if compared to similar laws of other countries.” The bill, drafted by the ministry of internal affairs, has obtained the support of 84 of the 150 seats of the Shura. A brief victory that shows the resistance found by the package of economic and social reforms promoted by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.

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