A Saudi Criminal Court has convicted the Saudi owner of a “halal bar” to three months in prison and a fine of US $2600 (10,000 Saudi riyals) for advertising what he called “halal wine”. After several hearing sessions held remotely, the Jeddah-based court found him guilty. According to the court, these words violate public morals and religion in the kingdom. The “bar” is actually a café in every other country’s standards.
The man had appeared in a paid online advert of nearly three minutes promoting his business, using phrases that the court deemed violating public morality and religious values. The defendant appeared in the video advert saying: “There is now a bar in Jeddah”. “All drinks are free of alcohol”; and described the drinks served in his “bar” as “halal wine”. The court has also banned the advert.
The defendant argued that the drinks are halal and that he had promoted legal drinks at his licensed café and that the drinks were procured from suppliers in the Saudi market.
The Saudi Public Prosecution has filed separate lawsuits against four social media personalities for publishing the advertisement on their social media platforms.