Saudi tutor gets lashes for meeting student (and prison)

A married university professor has been sentenced to 180 lashes and eight months in prison for having coffee with a female student.

The professor of psychology at Umm al-Qra University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, was caught in a “honey trap” operation after angering members of the religious police during a training course, his lawyer said.

The academic is said to have received a call from a supposed student, who asked to discuss a problem in person; he agreed, provided she brought along a brother as a chaperone.


When the man arrived at the meeting place, the girl was alone, and he was arrested for being in a state of khulwa – seclusion – with an unrelated female.

The professor, who has not been named, was reported to be a married man in his late 50s with children.

Contact between unrelated men and women is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, where religious police patrol public places to enforce Islamic law on behalf of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

Abdullah al-Sanousi, the professor’s lawyer, said his client had upset some of the commission’s trainees on a course that a number had failed.

The professor, who is said to have taped the girl admitting that she was sent by the police, is appealing against the sentence.


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