Saudi Arabia authorities use viral clip to identify and arrest partygoers

Those shown in the video face strict punishment for violating the country's rules on drinking and mixed socialising

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 27 December 2016 10:53 GMT
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have used a viral party video to identify and arrest partygoers in the country.

Police have identified people shown partying in a viral video of a party, leaving those involved likely to face strict punishment.

A video shows a group of men and women partying in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's second city. Doing so risks prosecution by the country's "morality police", who strictly enforce laws that prohibit socialising between men and women and the buying or drinking of alcohol.

The footage was posted online last week and quickly gained the attention of the public, being viewed hundreds of thousands of times. But it also grabbed the attention of the police, who established a special task force to identify the people shown in it.

The chief suspect, a Jordanian, was arrested while trying to flee the country, according to local reports. He has since admitted to organising the party.

Three female guests from Lebanon have also been questioned and admitted to being a part of the event.

The case has since been referred to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution, which will decide whether or not to press charges. Police are still looking to identify other people in the video.

The video can be seen to have been filmed in Saudi Arabia because of the presence of the Jeddah Flagpole, which can be spotted through one of the windows. That flagpole is the largest in the world and has served as a landmark in the city.

It was from the presence of that flagpole that authorities were able to work out where the video had been filmed, according to local media. That was done by a special task force appointed by Jeddah Police to investigate the incident.

Anyone found to have been participating in a mixed party that included alcohol is likely to face a harsh punishment. Unlike in other Islamic countries, Saudi Arabia bans such activity among anyone in the country – those limits aren't imposed only on Saudi citizens or Muslims.

Last year, 74-year-old British grandfather Karl Andree spent a year in prison and was threatened with receiving over 350 lashes after he was caught with homemade alcohol while living in the country.

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