Saudi social media divided over arrest of ‘abaya’-less model Kholoud

Updated 19 July 2017

Saudi social media divided over arrest of ‘abaya’-less model Kholoud

JEDDAH: A 27-year-old aspiring model from Saudi Arabia is in police custody after a video of her walking in the historic village of Ushayqir, east of the capital Riyadh, wearing clothing that contravenes the cultural norms of the Kingdom, surfaced on social media.
In the short video, the woman — identified only as Kholoud — appears in a black miniskirt and sleeveless crop top. Women residing in the country are expected to wear a loose, black, full-length garment known as an abaya whenever they are in a public place.
Within hours of the video going viral, a police investigation was initiated, and early on Tuesday the Riyadh Police issued a statement indicating that the woman had been identified and questioned. The story made international headlines after it was first reported in local daily Okaz.
“Investigators specializing in such matters found several videos circulating on social networking programs that included those of a woman wandering in the heritage village of Ushayqir dressed indecently,” the police statement said.
“According to the system of combating cybercrime, the woman’s identity has been ascertained. She has acknowledged that she visited the heritage village, and claims the videos were published by an unknown person without her consent.”
The case has been referred to the Public Prosecution Department to take the necessary action, the statement added.
Arab News spoke with Capt. Sattam Al-Huzaini of the Riyadh Police on Tuesday night, hours after the police statement was released. He gave no indication as to whether the woman remains in police custody or has been released, adding that he had no further comment on the case beyond what had already been published in the statement.
On social media however, many Saudis posted messages of support to the woman, saying that there was nothing wrong with what she had done, particularly since she had not offended anyone, since there was nobody at the site when she visited.
Others took a more conservative view, calling for the woman to be punished for promoting sin, stating that her actions violate the Kingdom’s cultural and religious traditions.


Saudi Arabia reaffirms support for Afghanistan during donor conference

Updated 49 min 35 sec ago

Saudi Arabia reaffirms support for Afghanistan during donor conference

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed its support for Afghanistan during a pledging conference for the war-torn nation. 
The event, co-hosted by Finland and the United Nations in Geneva, saw the US, the European Union and other donors pledge billions of dollars in funding for Afghanistan.
Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said the Kingdom has supported more than 35 projects in Afghanistan in various sectors, at a cost of more than $24m. 
The projects covered the humanitarian, health, education, water and food security fields. 
Al-Wasel said the Kingdom participated in all donor conferences held for Afghanistan out of its sense of responsibly towards Afghanistan and hopes for the country to achieve security and prosperity. 
He said the Kingdom believes that achieving stability in Afghanistan requires collective support through several steps, including conciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban, as well as the group’s commitment to renounce violence and engage in the political process. 
Countries like Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States and Canada stepped forward with hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of pledges for Afghanistan, after speeches from officials like Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.