Saudi woman in on­line miniskirt video ar­rested

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

RIYADH: Saudi po­lice said yes­ter­day they were ques­tion­ing a woman who ap­peared in an on­line video in a miniskirt and crop top walk­ing through a his­toric site in the ul­tra­con­ser­va­tive king­dom. A se­ries of videos, ini­tially posted over the week­end to the Snapchat ac­count of “Model Khu­lood”, show a young woman in a high-waisted miniskirt walk­ing through a fort in Ushaiqer, out­side the cap­i­tal Riyadh, play­ing with sand in the dunes and turn­ing to­wards the cam­era for a close-up, her long hair un­cov­ered. The videos have since been up­loaded to YouTube and tweeted by dif­fer­ent users.

Saudi me­dia, in­clud­ing the main dailies Sabq and Okaz, yes­ter­day quoted a spokesman for po­lice in Riyadh as say­ing the woman was be­ing ques­tioned

and had con­fessed to vis­it­ing the site with her male guardian. Saudi Ara­bia’s guardian­ship sys­tem man­dates ac­com­pa­ni­ment by or writ­ten per­mis­sion from a male rel­a­tive - usu­ally a fa­ther, hus­band or brother - for women to study, work or travel. The woman de­nied that she had up­loaded the clips and that the Snapchat ac­count was hers, the spokesman said.

The case has now been re­ferred to the pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice, which will de­cide whether to pros­e­cute the woman. The lo­cal gov­ern­ment of Riyadh had is­sued a memo say­ing au­thor­i­ties were search­ing for the woman who had been “walk­ing around... in in­de­cent cloth­ing”. The clips have sparked heated de­bate, with so­cial me­dia users in the re­gion and be­yond weigh­ing in on ques­tions of gen­der and rights in the king­dom, where women are re­quired to wear long black abaya robes and cover their hair in pub­lic.

Many have come to the de­fense of the young woman, point­ing out the priv­i­leges af­forded to Western women by Saudi au­thor­i­ties. US First Lady Me­la­nia Trump and Ivanka Trump, daugh­ter of the pres­i­dent, did not cover their hair when they vis­ited Saudi Ara­bia in May. “If it were Trump’s daugh­ter, we would have braced our­selves for the flood of com­pli­ments and love po­ems,” read one tweet. “Prob­lem solved,” tweeted Shahd bint Fahd along­side a pic­ture of the model with Ivanka Trump’s face su­per­im­posed over the orig­i­nal. Oth­ers ex­pressed out­rage and de­rided those speak­ing out in sup­port of the model. “These are the de­mands of the lib­eral ig­no­rant com­mu­nity: a naked woman, a co-ed movie theatre, and mu­sic and dance. That’s progress to them! Not health care and not ed­u­ca­tion,” read one tweet. — AFP

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