Saudi social media was thrown into a dizzying spin after a woman donned a miniskirt in a Snapchat video. Police arrested the woman and said she confessed to visiting an historic site with her male guardian.
Saudi police arrested a young woman on Tuesday after she appeared in an online video wearing a miniskirt and a croptop.
A series of videos, first posted on Snapchat at the weekend, showed 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 were then widely shared on other social media networks.
Police in Riyadh questioned the woman who then confessed to visiting the site with her male guardian but denied uploading the video, Saudi media, including the main dailies Sabq and Okaz, reported. Some Saudi outlets chose to blur the video.
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State-run TV said police arrested the woman for wearing "immodest clothes" and had referred her case to the country's public prosecutor.
Strict dress codes
Saudi Arabia has strict dress codes for men and women. Women must wear loose, long robes and most also cover their face. Women in Saudi Arabia require accompaniment by or written permission from a male relative - usually a father, husband or brother - to study, work or travel.
The local government of Riyadh had issued a memo saying authorities were searching for the woman who had been "walking around... in indecent clothing."
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'Khulood must be tried'
The videos led to heated debate in the region, with many questioning laws and the kingdom. Many came to the young woman's defense, pointing out the privileges afforded to Western women by Saudi authorities. US First Lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump, daughter of the US 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.
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.
Many social media users in the conservative Muslim kingdom vented their anger using the hashtag "Model Khulood must be tried."
aw/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)