Women in Saudi Arabia face flogging and imprisonment if they check their husband’s phone without his permission.
The offence would be prosecuted as a violation of privacy because it is not covered in the country’s Islamic laws, senior lawyer Mohammad al-Temyat has said.
The issue has been a source of growing debate in the kingdom, with high profile cases leading to almost 35,000 tweets under a trending Arabic hashtag which translates as “Flogging of A Woman Checking Her Husband’s Phone”.
Mr Al-Temyat, a legal adviser who described himself as a “member” of the Saudi government’s Family Security Programme, confirmed in an interview with the Makkah newspaper that individuals would be brought before the court if a lawsuit was filed against them.
The legal guidance comes in spite of much-vaunted attempts at social reform under King Salman. The Family Security Programme is part of the Health Affairs branch of the Ministry of National Guard, and was established by Royal decree in 2005 to improve access to social services.