A Saudi Arabian man divorced his wife after she made a disparaging reference to her husband in an instant messaging app.
The couple used popular multinational mobile phone service Whatsapp. According to a report in Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat, the couple’s marriage had already been under strain when the wife wrote a status update referring to her husband – a message visible to her all contacts within the app.
It read: “I pray to be patient enough to put up with you” and the reference was followed by his initials.
The husband was aggrieved when he saw the message. He explained:
“I called one of my relatives to check whether she was addressing me. My relative confirmed this and I was so embarrassed that my friends’ wives and relatives could see that I was being portrayed in such a light.”
Deciding that the message was the last straw for their marriage, he divorced her but worse was to come.
His former wife was then sentenced to 70 lashes and a fine of 20,000 riyals (£3,619) under the country’s draconian Anti-Cyber Crime Law, which outlaws defamation via information technology devices.
Saudi lawyer Abdulmunim Al-Subaie said postings on social media had become a leading cause of divorce in the kingdom. Couples warring over online material were usually given a chance to decide whether they really wanted to proceed with divorce, he explained, adding:
“All in all, the current generation of married couples does not know how to use social media in the right way.”
This is not the first Saudi Arabian divorce to cite Whatsapp use. Last November, another husband demanded a divorce when his wife failed to respond to messages he sent her via the app.
Image by Zuhair A. Al-Traifi via Flickr