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Saudis shocked by child abuse film

By Staff

A YouTube film published this week showing a man molesting a little girl inside a building in the Gulf kingdom has caused shock within the Saudi society, with newspapers reporting a deluge of public reactions calling for severe punishment of the abuser.

A day after the film was carried by local newspapers amid calls to get the man, Saudi police said they managed to locate the building in the eastern town of Dammam and arrest the molester, whom they identified as an “abnormal” Saudi in his 20s.

“Just after we received calls about that film, we launched an investigation and succeeded in locating the building where the incident took place,” newspapers said, quoting police spokesman Colonel Ziad Al Rukaiti.

“We then mounted a manhunt to get that man…we later managed to identify and arrest him in a short period of time…he is now under arrest and being questioned.”

The film, which was later removed from YouTube apparently at police request, showed the man, wearing a white dishdasha (gown) and a cap, was going up the stairs in the building when he saw the girl waiting for the lift on her own.

He then suddenly returned to the girl and looked sideways to make sure he is not watched before he bent down and started to caress her. When the lift opened and the girl went into, the man went after her.

The incident was published by many newspapers in the region and worldwide while it was also reported by the BBC Radio, which said the film showed an increased interest by Saudis in social networks. It said child abuse is one of the most sensitive crimes in most countries but that it is more sensitive in the conservative Saudi society.

“Thanks God and thank you Saudi police for getting this man…I call for the severest punishment against him so he will be a lesson for all others who think of committing such an ugly crime,” a Saudi reader commented, according to Sabq newspaper.

“Please make sure he gets a severe punishment…this girl is not only the daughter of that family but she is the daughter of all of us,” said another Saudi.

Another reader identifying himself as Rayan went further by calling for executing the abuser. “Hang him…shoot him…just execute him and rid our society of men like him…we no longer trust anyone because of such types of people.”

Another reader calling himself Al Zahrani criticized the police for describing the man as abnormal. “Every time we have a crime committed by a man, you say he is mentally disturbed…just make sure he gets the proper punishment of this serious crime…if he is in Europe, he will surely be thrown in jail for many years while the child will be given $millions in damages and sent to a psychiatrist to treat her from such a trauma.”

But another Saudi hailed the police for capturing the man and urged them to punish him before sending him into a psychiatry centre.

“By God, you have proved capable…but you have now to ensure he gets the proper punishment…you then have to send him into a psychiatry centre and lock him there for a long time so we can go to bed without worrying about our children.”