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A model arrested in Saudi Arabia after a video of her wearing a miniskirt went viral has been released without charge.
The controversial footage, posted earlier this week on the Snapchat account of a young woman called “Khulood”, shows her wandering empty alleys in the heritage village of Ushaiqer, about 95 miles north of Riyadh, dressed in a short skirt and cropped top.
According to the ultra-conservative kingdom’s state-owned TV network, the woman was briefly detained by police on the grounds of indecent dress after the clip spread swiftly online.
“She was released without charge and the case has been closed by the prosecutor,” a statement from the Saudi Centre for International Communications said.
Khulood claimed the footage had been posted to social media without her knowledge, according to reports.
A Riyadh police spokesman explained in a statement to CNN: “She admitted to visiting the site in question with a male guardian, and that the viral videos were published by an account attributed to her without her knowledge.”
Her arrest on the grounds of wearing “indecent clothing” followed an outpouring of outrage from conservative social media users who castigated her breaking of strict Saudi dress codes.
Saudi writer Ibrahim al-Munayif told 41,000 Twitter followers that women should stick to the rules.
“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.
Outside of their homes and all-female settings, women in Saudi Arabia are mandated by a Sharia-based law system to wear ‘modest’ clothes including a full-length loose-fitting cloak known as an abaya.
They are also expected to carry scarves in case they are asked to cover their head by the country’s religious police, known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
However, many leapt to the defence of the young woman, citing double standards in a country where despite strict laws on female conduct, pornography is widely accessible.
“What about Hassan Jameel? Hypocrites,” asked one Twitter user, posting the widely circulated picture of the wealthy Saudi businessman kissing popstar Rihanna in a swimming pool earlier this summer.
“Leading the world in visiting the porn sites isn’t a problem. But wearing [a] miniskirt is a serious problem,” wrote another.
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