Saudi police arrests man for his cuddling campaign

Saudi police arrests man for his cuddling campaign
Fri Nov 22, 2013 16:02:55

A man has been arrested by Saudi religious police in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh for offering ‘free hugs’ to people.

Abdulrahman al-Khayyal went out onto the streets along with a friend carrying a placard saying ‘free hugs’, apparently inspired by a viral video of a campaign posted on YouTube earlier this week.

In that video Bandr al-Swed was filmed hugging young men, in a three minute clip that racked up over a million views in three days.

Inspired by the cuddling campaign, 21-year-old Al-Khayyal announced on Twitter that he was going to offer free hugs in Tahliya, one of the main shopping streets.

However the two men were arrested and their ‘free hugs’ banners seized, CNN Arabic reported.

Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice arrested the two men in Riyadh for violating local laws and engaging in “exotic practices”, Al Hayat newspaper said.

They were then made to sign a pledge that they would not go out again.

Despite this, al-Khayyal was quoted by the British daily The Independent that he would continue to give out free hugs and he was proud of what he had done. He said he considered it an act of charity.

The religious police in Saudi Arabia are tasked with enforcing the government’s law.

They have come under heavy criticism in the past, most notably in March 2002, when they prevented schoolgirls from escaping a burning school in Mecca without wearing headscarves and abayas (black robes) and accompanied by a male guardian. Fifteen girls died and 50 were injured as a result.


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