A court in Jeddah recently sentenced a woman to three days in jail for sending her ex-husband insulting WhatsApp messages, Okaz newspaper reported.
The woman was also ordered to sign a binding legal document stating that she will refrain from repeating similar behavior in the future. The complainant took his ex-wife to court and accused her of constantly harassing him on Whatsapp during the five years after their divorce.
The court was presented with messages that saw the defendant call her ex "stupid" and use racist words to degrade him. She also repeatedly labeled him "the devil" and "a donkey" in her texts.
Defending herself in court, the ex-wife said she insulted the man in response to profane words he sent her, accusing him of provoking her.
In the early phases of the woman's trial, the court tried to reconcile the two parties in the hope of amicably resolving the matter. When all attempts at reconciliation failed, the defendant had to face legal consequences in the case.
The woman was convicted after the messages found on the complainant's mobile phone were traced back to her number.
Some Saudis were all for the decision to jail the woman
"The right decision."
Some thought three days in jail weren't enough
"Insults and profanities and only three days in jail!"
Others were opposed to the sentence
"Maybe she was angry. Calm down, dear judge."
A few raised this point
"A husband abuses his wife, beating her all day and when she reports it to the government they make him sign a few documents and send her back home to be beaten even more for reporting him. And now when this woman sent her ex a few insults, you jail her... where are we living?"
In the kingdom, WhatsApp messages can land people in jail
In Saudi Arabia, insulting someone on WhatsApp is a crime that can land people in jail.
In 2018, a court in the kingdom sentenced a woman who swore at her cousin via the messaging app to 10 days in jail. This came after she sent the woman profane messages, including one in which she told her "you should learn loyalty from dogs."
In 2017, a Saudi judge sentenced two women to 10 lashes each after they insulted each other via the messaging app.
Apart from Saudi Arabia, both the UAE and Kuwait implement strict cybercrime laws that criminalize "sending insults via WhatsApp."