Saudi Arabia releases detained Snapchat video miniskirt model | News | DW | 19.07.2017
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Saudi Arabia releases detained Snapchat video miniskirt model

Saudi police have released a woman from custody who was filmed wearing a miniskirt at an historic site. The case had caused uproar in the conservative Islamic nation.

Saudi police reportedly released the woman on Wednesday after she had been questioned for several hours and the case was then closed.

The Ministry of Culture and Information said that she was released "after she told investigators that a film posted on social media, showing her in a miniskirt as she walked through a historic Saudi village, was published without her knowledge."

The identity of the woman was not confirmed.

Watch video 01:50

Miniskirt raises outcry

Dress code for women

Authorities had arrested the young woman for wearing "immodest clothes" after she was seen in the video, initially shared on a Snapchat account entitled "Model Kholoud," wearing a crop top and a miniskirt at the historic fort of Ushaiqer, north of Riyadh, breaking the dress code for women in the ultraconservative kingdom.

Saudi law obliges all women in the kingdom, including foreigners, to wear long, loose robes known as abayas in public in addition to a veil that covers the hair.

The viral video led to an outcry from people who said that she had flagrantly violated the kingdom's conservative Islamic dress code.

Read more: Saudi Arabia to offer physical education courses for girls

Saudi Arabia's efforts to modernize

The woman's release from detention without charge is seen as unusual. Other Saudi women have landed in prison without charge for such transgressions against Saudi law as driving cars and escaping abusive families.

The case is seen as a rare victory for supporters of women's rights in Saudi Arabia, who criticized the public outcry.

The decision not to press charges also comes as Saudi Arabia overhauls its prosecution system. The country's 31-year-old heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has pushed for a more open society as part of a wider overhaul plan called Vision 2030.

ss/rt (AFP, AP, dpa)

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