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Reporter flees official probe for wearing ‘indecent’ attire

A SAUDI TV presenter fled the country yesterday after authorities started investigating her for wearing “indecent” clothing on air.

Shireen al-Rifaie was reporting in Riyadh about the end of a ban on women driving when her full-length abaya robe caught the wind and revealed the clothes she was wearing underneath.

Strictly enforced dress codes in Saudi Arabia previously required women to wear the full abaya in public along with a headscarf if they are Muslim.

But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appeared to suggest in March that women did not need to wear the abaya, although they should dress modestly.

“The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia that women like men wear decent, respectful clothing,” he said at the time, adding: “This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or black head cover. 

“The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.”

But the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media confirmed that Ms Rifai is being investigated “for violating regulations and instructions” by “wearing indecent clothing” during the news report.

Ms Rifaie, who has returned to the United Arab Emirates,  denied any wrongdoing. 

“I was wearing decent clothes and God will reveal the truth of what has been said to me,” she said.

The decades-long ban on female drivers was officially lifted earlier this month with authorities issuing the first licences to women.

However, Riyadh has clamped down on those campaigning for the right to drive, with at least eight women facing long prison sentences for their activism.


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