According to Reuters, a Saudi Arabian judge has upheld a barbaric sentence against a business woman for exercising free speech. Her crime, as reported by The Arabic-Language Daily, was “cursing the morality police” and calling them “liars”. Her punishment is one month in prison and 50 lashes. The sentence was officially passed by a district court in Jeddah and has now been upheld by an appeals court in Mecca.
Members of the morality police entered the business woman’s cafe to ensure “…there were no breaches of morality or other laws in the conservative Muslim kingdom, and that some of her employees had then run away because they were breaking immigration rules.” It was at this point the woman cursed members of the morality police and called them liars.
The morality police, formally called the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, was set up in 1926 to monitor public behavior in Saudi Arabia, which follows the strict Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam.
It patrols streets and other public spaces such as shopping malls enforcing strict dress codes and 30-minute store closures during Islam's noon, afternoon, sunset and evening prayers.
In 2012 King Abdullah sacked the head of the religious police after a series of controversies including footage of members harassing families in a shopping mall going viral online and fatal crashes after patrols engaged in car chases with suspects.