A young woman in Saudi Arabia has been arrested in Riyadh, the nation’s capital, about two weeks after sharing a photo on social media showing herself not wearing a hijab or abaya while in public. According to Agence-France Press, police spokesman Fawaz al-Maiman announced that the woman had been arrested for not wearing a headscarf in public and posting a photo of her doing so on Twitter. He said authorities had carried out their duties to crack down on “violations of general morals.” Maiman, who did not identify the woman, added, “Riyadh police stress that the action of this woman violates the laws applied in this country.” He reportedly urged Saudis to “adhere to the teachings of Islam.”
Though the woman, believed to be in her twenties, wasn’t identified by police, it’s widely believed to be Malak Al Shehri who was detained by police. Late last month, Al Shehri posted a photo on Twitter showing her wearing neither a hijab or abaya while out in public. She faced a harsh backlash online, with some calling for her execution. Others applauded her bravery, but the number of compliments paled in comparison to the deluge of threats. She reportedly shut down her Twitter account amid the torrent of abuse. Another Twitter user posted the photo along with three tweets in which people called for her death. “Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs,” one of the tweets read.
The ultra-conservative kingdom mandates a strict dress code for women when they appear in public and outlaws them from driving — the only nation on the planet where women are barred from operating motor vehicles. According to reports, Al Shehri faces a lashing as punishment.