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‘Relax! We’ll track your wife down!’

LOCAL VIEWPOINT

Last updated: Friday, November 23, 2012 1:21 AM


Badriya Al-Bishir
Al-Hayat newspaper

 

 

YOU will find at the end of this article a link that will take you to the picture of a woman standing in the main entrance of Al-Hafayer police station in Khamis Mushayt.

The woman looks humiliated; she ran away from her husband who locked her in the bathroom for six days, whipped, tortured and made her drink his urine.

When he finally entered the bathroom to take a shower, the woman ran to the police but they refused to help her and left her stranded on the street.

Every time she runs away from her husband, her father makes her return.

This time, however, her father has refused to go to the police station and bring her home.

She is being treated as if she is a commodity that needs to be collected.

She sits and waits on the street until her owner claims her. And to make matters worse, despite her plight, the authorities have refused to intervene and help her.

The Passport Directorate has been recently working on a project called “Relax! We’ll track your wife down!”

I hope the authorities provide us with a total cost of this truly ground-shattering service, which is a sign of the backwardness that plagues Saudi society. Let me explain the reason behind this service.

Immigration officers at airports used to issue a yellow-colored document, called travel permit, which allowed a woman to travel abroad and does not require her to bring her guardian to the airport. But this document embarrassed us at Gulf, Arab and international airports. So the Passport Department decided to change it and use an online service instead, a service which only passport officials can see on the screen.

 

If a woman has permission, she will be allowed to travel. If she does not, she will have to ask her guardian to come to the airport. Are these procedures enough? Of course, not.

The Passport Directorate has come up with a new service that sends a woman’s guardian an SMS message when she leaves and enters the country.

Some husbands who were with their wives were surprised to receive a message telling them that their wives just entered or left the country.

My advice to the Passport Directorate is to patent this invention because I am sure some companies will steal it and develop it into a more sophisticated technology that allows a husband to know every step his wife takes outside the house!

Do these procedures not remind you of the ones used to track down criminals who are under probation?

To put an adult woman under the constant control of her husband is proof that the wife is a slave. If the husband is good, she will live in peace.

If he is bad, she will face the destiny of a slave – she might be freed from slavery or live in torture. This explains why the woman stood next to the station helpless while officers could not do anything for her.

In conclusion, I ask the Human Rights Commission and the National Society for Human Rights to say something, to make a statement at least.

 
   
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