Al Arabiya TV reports that a group of Saudi women — doctors and nurses all — are suing a user of Twitter for defamation. They are taking advantage of a new(ish) Saudi law that prohibits online defamation.
Based on the facts-as-reported, this strikes me as a bit of overkill. The comment was certainly stupid, but I’m not very fond of laws that penalize stupid comments. Under US law, this suit would fail at the first gate as ‘defamation of a group’, which the women are alleging, is simply not a crime.
A group of Saudi female doctors and nurses are planning to file a suit against a Twitter user who they alleged had defamed women working in the Kingdom’s medical sector.
The Twitter user described men who allow their wives, daughters, or sisters to work in the medical sector as not being “worried enough” about them.
The female doctors filing the suit considered this as defamation to Saudi women working in the field.
Doctor Sabah abo Zenada said that legal action is being taken against that user, and a report has been filed to the police, and the case is now under criminal investigation, where police needs to find the identity of that user.
“We have faith that the ministry of interior is able to find any person who threatens national security…and this person is like a terrorist, he has spread social terrorism when he insulted Saudi women working in the medical field”
There are laws in Saudi Arabia against insulting or defaming someone on Facebook or Twitter, said Abo Zenada, which can be up to five years in prison and 3 million riyal fines.
“This is a huge problem, he did not defame women workers only or their families, he defamed all Saudis…there is no house in the kingdom which has no doctor, secretary, nurse or even a maid…he defamed all women workers throughout the whole kingdom.”