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Saudis flog 55 youths for harassing women

Saudi authorities have flogged 55 youths, including 12 foreigners, for harassing women in the capital, Riyadh, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The young men and teenage boys received 15 lashes each. It was the second time in less than two weeks that authorities have punished a large number of young men accused of harassing women.

A special police unit responsible for patrolling large shopping centers and educational institutions in Riyadh carried out the arrests, the Arabic-language Al-Riyadh daily reported.

The youths were warned they faced imprisonment if they commit the same offense again, the Saudi daily said. It did not give the nationalities of the foreigners involved.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Courts in the kingdom routinely order lashings for minor crimes.