Five Saudi men have been sentenced  to various jail terms and ordered to be lashed in public for drinking and partying on Valentine’s Day.
Two defendants were sentenced to ten years in prison and 2,000 lashes to be given in 20 parts in front of Al Nafoora market, the Okaz daily reported on Friday. Two other defendants were handed seven years in prison and 1,500 public lashes each over 15 parts. The fifth defendant was given five years in jail and 1,000 public lashes.
The men were arrested alongside six women in a house they had rented for recreational purposes in the city of Burayda, the capital of Al Qassim region in north central Saudi Arabia. Smuggled bottles of alcohol were seized during the raid, the court in Burayda heard.
The men admitted to charges of dancing, illicit reclusion with unrelated women and celebrating Valentine’s Day, the paper reported.
Security authorities said they found red roses, candles and heart-shaped items during the raid attended by member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the religious police.
The five men will be barred from leaving the country for five years after serving their sentences in prison.
The charges against the six women arrested during the raid will be reviewed by a different judge amid expectation that the verdict will be announced soon, the daily said.
The recreation area contract was cancelled by the court.