In Saudi Arabia, sending ‘red heart’ emojis can attract $26,000 fine, up to 5 years in jail

WION Web Team
Dubai Updated: Feb 17, 2022, 05:40 PM(IST)

WhatsApp-Saudi Photograph:( Agencies )

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According to the Saudi law, if the sender was found to be guilty, that person could be jailed for two to five years and a fine of SR100,000 (US $26, 649 approx.) would be imposed

Sending a ‘red heart’ emojis on WhatsApp can land a user in jail in Saudi Arabia, according to reports.

This was revealed when a cybercrime expert in Saudi issued a statement in a local newspaper stating that sending these ‘red hearts’ on WhatsApp amounts to ‘harassment’ in the country, Gulf News reported.

According to the Saudi law, if the sender was found to be guilty, that person could be jailed for two to five years and a fine of SR100,000 (US $26, 649 approx.) would be imposed.

Al Moataz Kutbi, who is a member of the Anti-Fraud Association in Saudi Arabia, said that the use of “some images and expressions during online chats may turn into a crime of harassment if a lawsuit is filed by the injured party.”

He warned users against engaging in a conversation with anyone without their consent, saying that “using explicit expressions or red heart emojis” can be construed as a gesture with sexual intentions.

“According to the anti-harassment system, harassment is defined as every statement, act, or gesture with a sexual connotation made by a person towards any other that touches his/her body or honour or infringes his/her modesty by any means, including modern technology. This includes (emojis) associated with the sexual connotations according to the custom of society, such as red hearts and red roses,” Kutbi said.

The expert said that in case of a repeated violation, the fine could reach SR300,000 (US $79,949 approx.) with five years in jail.

(With inputs from agencies)

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