JAFFA, Israel – A group of young Saudi men are facing up to five years’ imprisonment and a three million riyal (US$750,000) fine for riding motorcycles half-naked on the seafront in the city of Damam, the Saudi media reported on Monday.
The young men have been indicted for dangerous driving, disturbing the peace, and “exploiting cyberspace to offend the public” after they filmed themselves in the act and the video went viral.
One of the charges will be “deviation” from public and religious norms, a prosecutor told the SABQ website.
Nearly all the comments on the video’s YouTube page were disapproving, ranging from demanding that the teens be rehabilitated to saying they should be severely punished. Some, however, dismissed them as youthfully whimsical.
“They just came out of the sea and didn’t want to wet the seats of their motorbikes,” wrote Heidar.
Zaza, however, warned that “promiscuity will bring our society to its knees,” and Elsayed wrote that a “slight nudge to their vehicles would scatter them to pieces.”
Hussein, who said that there was nothing unusual about the incident, received torrents of abuse. Rada suggested that the viewers admire the colors of the riders’ underpants.
It has become customary in Saudi Arabia to blame Shi’ites for the nation’s troubles, and Assem speculated that “they are probably Shi’ite bastards.”
Another commenter suggested that the defendants will be sent to prison half-naked so that other inmates will abuse them.