Saudi police have released without charge a woman who was filmed in a miniskirt at a historic site in the ultraconservative kingdom, the government said on Wednesday. The ministry of information said police had released the woman last night and the prosector had closed the case.
Police said on Tuesday they were questioning the woman after she appeared in a series of videos, initially posted to messaging app Snapchat, wearing a crop top and a high-waisted miniskirt. She had been filmed walking through the historic fort of Ushaiqer, north of Riyadh, and playing with sand in the dunes.
The videos were uploaded over the weekend to the “Model Khulood” Snapchat account. The ministry said in a statement that the woman had confessed to walking through the site in a skirt with her hair uncovered but that the footage had been uploaded without her knowledge.
Women are required to wear long black abaya robes and cover their hair in public in most of Saudi Arabia, which has some of the world’s harshest restrictions on women.
The kingdom does not allow women to drive and requires them to be accompanied or given written permission by a male relative – usually a father, husband or brother – to study, work or travel.
The videos sparked heated debate among social media users in the region and beyond on questions of gender and rights in the kingdom.