A woman detained in Saudi Arabia after videos were published of her visiting a historical site wearing a miniskirt has been released without charge, the Ministry of Culture and Information says.
Saudi police released the woman, reportedly known as Khulood, on Tuesday evening local time after she was questioned for a few hours and the case was then closed, the ministry said in a statement.
She was released “after she told investigators that a film posted on social media, showing her in a miniskirt as she walked in a historic Saudi village, was published without her knowledge”, it added.
The images of the woman wearing a miniskirt and a crop top were shared on a Snapchat account entitled Model Kholoud, creating a furore in the conservative country.
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Saudi law obliges women to cover their hair and bodies, in line with traditional customs.
Saudi official media had said she was taken into custody in al-Shakraa province, north-west of the capital Riyadh.
The ministry statement did not confirm the identity of the woman.
Her arrest sparked online debate over double standards between what men and women are allowed to wear.
Rodger Shanahan, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute, told The New Daily this week that the dress code in Saudi Arabia varied depending on the woman.
“For western women, you don’t necessarily have to have your hair covered but you have to have an abaya,” Mr Shanahan said.
Actions taken against the woman could have range from a “stern talking-to” to legal action.
Dr Jessie Moritz, of ANU’s Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, told the New Daily: “Wearing a mini skirt and crop-top in the highly conservative Najd region definitely fits into the most inflammatory of acts. Wide publicity … is also problematic, as it can prompt the ruling family to react more harshly, making an ‘example’ of her designed to reinforce their support among conservative and religious Saudis.”