Haia closes over 10,000 Twitter accounts in 2014


The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) has shut down 10,117 Twitter accounts during the year because of religious violations, its spokesman, Turki Al-Shulail, has revealed.

“Their users were committing religious and ethical violations. Haia blocked and arrested some of their owners. However, it was hard to follow all the accounts due to the advanced security used in this kind of social media,” he told the media.

“The IT crime department at Haia played a major role to close these accounts. Our unit is divided into two sections: The first receives reports and complaints from citizens and residents and the second one monitors and does follow-up operations through websites and software applications,” he pointed out.

Ahmed Al-Ahamri, a lawyer specialized in IT crimes told Arab News that Saudi law punishes IT-related crimes with prison sentences that may exceed five years as well as fines as high as SR3 million.

“The crimes include religious or moral violations via the Internet. The number of these accounts has increased during the last five years and there is a need to put an end to them and arrest the users who publish material against our religion and society,” he stressed.


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