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Saudi Authorities Use SMS To Track Women And Inform Husbands

11/23/2012 11:21 am 11:21:56 | Updated 23 November 2012

Saudi women have come under even more constraint in the Gulf kingdom with the news that they are being electronically tracked by the authorities so their travel movements can be monitored.

Already denied the right to drive cars alone and to travel without the consent of their male guardians, women are now being electronically monitored to track any cross-border movements.

It is illegal for Saudi women to travel abroad without male accompaniment and can only do so if their guardian agrees by signing a document know as the 'yellow sheet' at an airport or border crossing.

The husband received a text message on his phone from the immigration authorities telling him that his wife had left Riyadh airport.

Unsurprisingly, the news has aroused some anger on Twitter:

The monitoring has also been condemned by the writer, Badriya al-Bishr, who described the authorities' actions as 'backward'.

Al Arabiya reported that the surveillance was triggered by the escape of a Saudi woman to Sweden earlier this year. She was believed to have converted to Christianity although she later denied this and insisted she wanted to return to Saudi Arabia.

She was helped to leave the country by a Saudi colleague and a Lebanese man who has reportedly since been imprisoned.

The kingdom is governed by strict Sharia law and it was only last year that women were given the right to vote and run for office in municipal elections in 2015.

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