Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution has reportedly ordered the arrest of a man who appeared in a viral video criticising Saudi working woman.
In the man’s Twitter clip which has been fiercely criticised by others on social media, he is heard declaring that “women should stay at home”.
The accused man has used abusive words against working women by insulting their dignity and decrying their engagement in the job market. The suspect also criticised women’s support and empowerment in society.
In response to the video, the Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution said: “We follow with interest everything that would prejudice women’s rights of guaranteed by the Saudi law, or anything that would undermine their dignity and legitimate freedom, whatever the pretexts are.”
But Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, told The Independent Saudi authorities had much further to go to demonstrate they were “serious” about women’s rights.
The kingdom has introduced some reforms to improve women’s rights in recent years, including allowing them to travel without a male guardian, but campaigners say women remain “second-class citizens” in the country. Saudi authorities have also continued to detain and prosecute women’s rights activists.
Ms. Begum said: “While it is interesting to see the Saudi authorities pursuing a man for regressive comments about women on Twitter, the authorities themselves have yet to fully abolish the male guardianship system that renders women as perpetual minors in their own country.
“They also are still detaining four women’s rights defenders – Loujain al-Hathloul, Samar Badawi, Nouf Abdelaziz and Nassima al-Sadah – two years on specifically for their women’s rights activism.
“If the Saudi authorities want to show how serious they are on women’s rights reforms, they should immediately and unconditionally release such women, lift travel bans on all women’s rights activists and abolish the male guardianship system in full.”
After learning authorities had called for his arrest, the man in the video appeared in another clip in which he reportedly claimed he had been joking in the initial footage and had not intended to offend women. (Source: Independent UK)