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Saudi Arabian teen arrested for video chats with U.S vlogger

Abu Sin was arrested by police for “unethical behaviour” linked to joint livestreams with a California woman posted to YouTube

A Saudi Arabian teenage boy has been arrested for engaging in “unethical behaviour” – thought to be a series of online videos where he converses with a Californian YouTuber.

The teenager, known as Abu Sin, was arrested in Riyadh while filming another livestream with a different guest. Police spokesperson Colonel Fawaz Al-Mayman confirmed the charge of “unethical behaviour” for the video chats with popular vlogger Christona Crockett. The videos, which went viral, were posted onto YouTube after being recorded from live-streaming site YouNow, where users speak in live split-screen chats.

The videos gained a huge following on YouNow, where Sin and Crockett attempted to communicate despite the language barrier. The pair talked about Justin Bieber and every day life.

Al-Maymann told the Saudi Gazette: “His videos received many comments and many of the commenters of the general public demanded for him to be punished for his actions.”

“The two of them composed enticing videos which received thousands of followers and viewers from all over the world within a short period of time,” he added.

The spokesperson related that police had been alerted to Abu Sin after commenters on the videos called for his arrest. A Saudi attorney told Okaz newspaper that the videos go against the country’s interpretation of Sharia law and internet regulations. He now faces three years in prison.

Crockett told the Guardian about inviting Abu Sin onto her stream. She said: “I guested this kid – I don’t know what he’s saying because I don’t speak Arabic, everyone thought he was really funny, and everyone liked him, and I guess this video went viral.”

“He didn’t speak much English, so I was trying to get him to understand what I was saying most of the time; it wasn’t that good communication,” the 21-year-old said. “He was dancing and being funny, we would both dance on there because we can’t communicate with words. It was pretty funny.”

Speaking of the arrest, she said: “I think it’s terrible and I don’t think he deserves it.”

Abu Sin was videoing a livestream with another participant in a car with two friends when police came to arrest him.

According to France24, it isn't the first time a Saudi person has been arrested for Internet activity or videos that the authorities see as immoral. Back in 2013, a young man was arrested by the religious police after he posted photos of himself offering “free hugs” on the streets of Riyadh.