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Saudi authorities arrest teenager for 'spitting on the Quran'

The 15-year-old was arrested in the Saudi capital Riyadh [Twitter]

Date of publication: 22 August, 2017

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A 15-year-old Saudi boy was arrested in Riyadh after sharing on social media a video of himself "spitting" on the holy Quran, sparking outrage.
A Saudi teenager who filmed himself "spitting" on the holy Quran was arrested on Sunday after the video he recorded of himself went viral on social media, sparking outrage across the kingdom.

The 15-year-old was arrested in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where he was identified by authorities, according to a police statement reported by local media.

He is being held in a detention centre awaiting a trial, a police spokesman said.

"Authorities in Riyadh were able to identify and locate the teenager who offended the holy Quran," police spokesman Gen. Fawaz Al Meeman said in a statement.

"[The teenager] has been placed in a social services detention centre. Riyadh's prosecutor has been notified of the incident and will be taking action promptly."

Under Saudi Arabia's strict religious laws, blasphemy is considered a punishable crime that can see the offender executed. 

The video, in which the boy appeared topless, sparked outrage among social media users in the kingdom.

The hashtag #CivilianOffendsHolyQuran quickly gained traction on Twitter, where many users called for the boy's execution.

[Translation: He who leaves his religion must be killed...Sharia orders that apostates who have come of age should be killed, not imprisoned!]

[Translation: I saw the video, and I wish I hadn’t! It will anger God if he is not executed! And those who say he is only a teenager are okay with what he did]

A few took to defend the teenager, adding that a severe punishment was unreasonable.

[Translation: What's wrong with people who are calling for his execution and flogging? Have some compassion. The boy could have a psychological problem or he could be uneducated or influenced by others around him] 

[Translation: This teenager who appeared naked in a video and spat on the holy Quran, clearly has some mental health issues. Instead of all the drama, and instead of calling for his execution, we must call on authorities to provide him with treatment]

[Translation: He's only 15-years-old... he's just a kid! Who knows what led him to do this, who knows who influenced him or what his living situation is like!! Don't be too harsh on him]

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