In what is widely viewed as yet another sexist and repressive act, Saudi Arabia has introduced an electronic tracking system to monitor its female citizens’ cross-border movements. The system is designed to send alerts to men whenever women under their custody, which include wives and daughters, leave the country.
Since last week, some Saudi women’s male guardians have been receiving text messages from immigration authorities, the AFP reported.
The news first surfaced on Twitter when Manal al-Sherif, a Saudi women’s rights activist, was alerted by a couple.
The husband, who was traveling with his wife, received a text from the immigration authorities informing him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh, the AFP reported.
To leave the kingdom, Saudi women are required to seek permission from their male guardians, who give consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border, according to the report.
The recent controversy caused by the escape of a Saudi woman to Sweden is believed to have prompted the authorities to implement the system, Al Arabiya reported, citing local media.
It was earlier reported that the woman was converted to Christianity and fled the country with the help of a Lebanese man and a Saudi colleague. She went to Bahrain, and then to Qatar before traveling to Lebanon, local daily Al-Yaum reported in July.
The woman’s father filed a lawsuit against the two men for helping his daughter leave the country without his knowledge. The Lebanese man was reportedly jailed earlier this week in the city of Khobar on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, Al Arabiya said.