JEDDAH: A 27-year-old aspiring model from Saudi Arabia who was taken into police custody on Tuesday has been released.
The release of the woman — identified only as Kholoud — was confirmed by a statement issued on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Information and by a source at the Riyadh police that Arab News spoke to.
She was released on the same day she was arrested and a spokesperson on behalf of the police claimed she was never detained but merely brought in for questioning.
A statement released by Saudi Arabia's Center for International Communication, which is overseen by the Ministry of Culture and Information, confirmed that the police released the woman after several hours of questioning and the video was published without her knowledge.
The story developed over the past few days, when a short video of the woman wearing a black miniskirt and sleeveless crop top in a public Saudi historical landmark went viral. Women residing in Saudi Arabia 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.
On social media 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.