Middle East

Saudi religious police probe MTV programme for 'sin'


Saudi Arabia's religious police are investigating three young Saudis who challenged the country's strict laws in a TV programme.

The two men and a woman were featured in a MTV documentary talking about how they wanted to subvert the Islamic laws of the country.

In recent years the rulers of the oil-rich kingdom have said they want to instigate reforms.

But lawyers say the three could face stern penalties.

The Saudi judicial system is based on a strict Islamic code and can hand out jail terms and floggings for people who break them.


In the programme - called Resist the Power! Saudi Arabia - a girl named only as Fatimah told how she disguised herself as a boy to ride a bicycle in the streets of Jeddah.

The 20-year-old also railed against the traditional women's dress - a black robe known as an abaya.

She said she made her own abayas in bright colours, which she sold to friends.

A young man, Aziz, talked about his attempts to break the strict segregation of the sexes in Saudi life - to meet his girlfriend for a date.

"We are not free to live as we like," said the 24-year-old.

The four part documentary, which was screened in the US, also followed a Saudi heavy metal band who struggled to find venues that would allow them to play.

An official at a court in Jeddah said the films were being investigated for the crimes of "openly declaring sin" and a decision would be made on whether to prosecute in the next few days, Reuters reported.

Last October a Saudi man, Mazen Abu Jawad, was jailed for five years after he boasted about his sexual exploits on a Lebanon-based TV programme.

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