Driver of ride-hailing service arrested for harassing customer

Police track down culprit after viral video

March 12, 2018
Fatima Muhammad

Saudi Gazette

— Police arrested a 30-year-old driver of an app-based ride-hailing service in Madinah on Monday after he was accused of harassing a disabled female customer.

Husain Al-Qahtani, spokesman for Madinah police, said police launched an investigation after a video showing the driver trying to sexually harass the girl went viral on social media.

"We followed up the case and identified the driver, who is a Saudi national in his 30s. The man drove a private car registered with a ride-hailing service and took advantage of the physical condition of the girl. He was arrested and is being questioned," Al-Qahtani said.

He stressed in a statement that the police strictly followed up any reported case of violation of modesty and infringement on rights as part of their security and social responsibility. The statement warned everyone against breaching public security by harassing or attacking any member of society.

In addition, the statement called on male guardians to fully shoulder their responsibilities toward their female family members.

The driver of the ride-hailing service was filmed by the girl while he tried to harass her despite his attempts to prevent her from doing so. The video went viral on social media on Sunday with many people calling for immediate action by the authorities to arrest the culprit.

Ibrahim Al-Munif, a writer, said the Ministry of Interior should oblige all ride-hailing services and taxi companies to install surveillance systems in their cars. If the camera is turned off or is not working, the driver must be taken to task, he added.

Nawal Al-Hawasawi, a therapist and activist, noted that the public right would stay in this matter even if the victim decided to drop her case. She called for doubling the punishment for people who harass minors or disabled individuals.

Sarah Ali, a sociologist, said she was "in complete shock and anger".

"I hope officials would investigate the case and bring the culprit to justice as soon as possible," she said.

Nura Al-Bin Saeed said the driver should face the law. "No girl or any human being for that matter should be subjected to this sort of harassment. This case is especially serious as the victim is someone with a disability," she said.

March 12, 2018
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