Saudi Arabia is again doing what it does best - boggle our minds.
Authorities in the kingdom have arrested 21-year-old Abdulrahman al-Khayyal, who made the mistake of trying to spread some love through free hugs.
Inspired by a viral video of a campaign posted on YouTube, Khawal hit the streets of Saudi capital, Riyadh, along with a friend, carrying a sign that read ‘free hugs.’
This public display of affection did no go down well with Riyadh's religious police, who promptly arrested the young man for his supposedly audacious and criminal actions.
Khawal's Twitter account showed that it was his birthday that day - making the situation even more bizarre and a little sad.
However, he remained unfazed and told The Independent that he would continue to give free hugs and was proud of his actions. He considered them an act of charity.
Support from social media users poured in once the news spread. Take a look at the following Tweets.
Such logic-defying behavior is not uncommon for Saudi's religious police but their continued oppression of the general public continues to amaze us.
The Kingdom, and its upholders of moral order a.k.a the religious police, are fiercely rigid and conservative. They like their women to remain hidden behind the veil and only be allowed to venture out with their legal guardians.
They don’t like their women driving and would rather have a stranger hired to do the job. One can’t blame the men as some may only be protecting their beloved women from damaging their ovaries - as one cleric out it.
"If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards,' the cleric said back in September.
Women's protection must also be the logic behind Saudi Arabia's electronic tracking system introduced last year to alert legal guardians if any of the females were to leave the country.
In all fairness, slight progress is being made with respect to women empowerment in Saudi Arabia. Slowly and steadily, women are finding a voice and being heard by their government.
Women were permitted to participate in the 2012 Olympics and now even have the right to vote.
A recent Reuters poll showed that the Kingdom was ranked as the third worst Arab country to be a woman, unlike general perceptions. It was ranked higher than Iraq and Egypt because Saudi women enjoy 20% of government seats in parliament and a fairly high level of education (even at the university level) compared to the other two conflict-ridden countries.
Historically, the Saudi way of granting women more freedom has been rather unconventional.
Initially, the men tried placating their women with endless shopping budgets and trips abroad. It did not matter if they had limited access to libraries because they had luxurious shopping malls instead.
One priceless response to women demanding more freedom was was the proposal to build a women only city.
Surely that would make the women happy?
Change seems to be on the horizon so perhaps there will come a time when people will be permitted to hug each other without incurring the wrath of the religious police and not having to spend their birthdays in jail.