Saudi Arabia shuts TV station after sex talk

RIYAD: Authorities have closed an office of an Arab TV station after it broadcast an interview with a Saudi man speaking frankly about sex and showed off erotic toys, a Saudi official said today.

Abdul-Rahman al-Hazza, the spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and Information, told The Associated Press that the office of LBC, a Lebanese-based satellite TV station, in the western city of Jiddah was closed because of the programme and because it is unlicensed.

“The closure is indefinite,” al-Hazza said.

The Saudi man, Mazen Abdul-Jawad, has been in detention since last Friday. Abdul-Jawad, a 32-year-old Saudi Airlines employee, has begged forgiveness

from Saudi society for appearing on LBC’s “Bold Red Line” programme, in which he appeared to be talking about his sexual exploits.

His July 15 TV appearance shocked many in this conservative kingdom. Saudi Arabia enforces strict segregation of the sexes. An unrelated couple, for example, can be detained for being alone in the same car or having a cup of coffee in public. Saudis observe such segregation even at home, where they have separate living rooms for male and female guests.

The television segment begins with Abdul-Jawad apparently talking about the first time he had sex - at age 14 with a neighbour. Then the divorced father of four sons leads viewers into his bedroom where he says: “Everything happens in this room.” Sulaiman al-Jumeii, Abdul-Jawad’s lawyer, insists the interview was manipulated, his client was not aware in many instances that he was being recorded and the sex toys were provided by the LBC staff.

More than 200 people have filed legal complaints against Mazen Abdul-Jawad, dubbed

a “sex braggart” by

the media, and many Saudis say he should be severely punished.