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Saudi police have detained a young woman who appeared in a video walking through a historic area in the north of the country with “indecent clothes” provoking a controversy from people who say she flagrantly violated the kingdom’s conservative Islamic dress code.

The woman, whose name was not given, was detained by police in Riyadh on Tuesday. Col. Fawaz al-Maiman told Saudi television that the girl admitted to having visited, along with her guardian, the historic area of Ashkir, located about 200 km northwest of Riyadh, Efe news reported.

In the video, the young woman dressed in a short skirt and a short-sleeved T-shirt can be seen walking without the company of any male in an archaeological zone and in the desert. The Colonel assured that, in her confession, the woman said that the video was published without her knowledge.

The case had been referred to the Attorney General after the judicial authority had access to the video, according to media.

Saudi Arabia’s committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice on Monday called for the trial of the young woman in the video dressed “without regard” to the principles of the Islamic religion and the customs of the ultraconservative kingdom.

In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive or travel outside the country without a family member or guardian, among other restrictions that greatly limit their participation in social life and in the public sphere.

Ibrahim al-Munayif, a Saudi writer with more than 41,000 followers on Twitter, wrote on his official account that allowing people to disobey the law leads to chaos.

“Just like we call on people to respect the laws of countries they travel to, people must also respect the laws of this country,” he wrote.

Others defended her by posting images from US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May during which First Lady Melania Trump and his daughter Ivanka, though modestly dressed in higher necklines and longer sleeves, shunned wearing a head cover or the abaya.

First Published | 19 July 2017 8:34 PM
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