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Saudi Arabia Implements Public Decency Code as It Opens to Tourists

Saudi Arabia Implements Public Decency Code as It Opens to Tourists

Saturday, 28 September, 2019 - 13:15
Saudi dancers perform during the launch of a new tourist visa regime at a dinner at historic Diriyah in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Kalin/File Photo

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it would issue fines for 19 offenses related to public decency, such as immodest dress and public displays of affection, as the Muslim kingdom opens up to foreign tourists.


The Interior Ministry decision accompanies the launch of a visa regime allowing holidaymakers from 49 states to visit the Kingdom. Till now, most visitors have been Muslim pilgrims and business people.


Violations listed on the new visa website also include littering, spitting, queue jumping, taking photographs and videos of people without permission and playing music at prayer times. Fines range from 50 riyals ($13) to 6,000 riyals ($1,600).


“The regulations are meant to ensure that visitors and tourists in the kingdom are aware of the law relating to public behavior so that they comply with it,” a government media statement said.


It said Saudi police had the sole responsibility for monitoring offenses and imposing fines.


The Gulf country, which shares borders with Iraq to the north and Yemen to the south, boasts vast tracts of desert but also verdant mountains, pristine beaches and historical sites including five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


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