Sharia Alert. She can’t get custody of her four children, and she “could also face arrest if the husband has fled with her residency papers.” He’s a citizen of Australia himself, though he’s clearly enjoying the Saudi system more: All the benefits and privileges for him as a man, and all the restrictions for her. “Australian stranded in Saudi Arabia,” from the Australian Associated Press, September 21:
An Australian woman trapped in Saudi Arabia because of the fallout from a divorce case is being given “all possible consular assistance”, Australia’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia says.
The Adelaide mother of four has complained the Australian government is not helping her and has told News Ltd that she has been threatened with arrest for exposing her face to a male neighbour in front of her children.
The Australian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Kevin Magee, has told a Middle East newspaper that embassy officials planned to meet the woman to provide her “full support”.
“I can’t confirm or deny the report of her possible detention by the local police, but our consular staff are committed and are extending all necessary support to the woman,” Mr Magee told the Arab News daily newspaper.
News Ltd’s The Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide reported the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) had previously said it could not ensure the Australian citizen got out of the country with her four children.
Her ex-husband, also an Australian citizen, has filed for custody of the four children in a Saudi court, the report said.
The woman, who was not named by the newspapers after saying she fears for her safety, told The Advertiser on Friday that she had been refused sanctuary in the Australian consulate and she expected to be arrested over the weekend, after exposing her face in front of a male neighbour.
She says her ex-husband has also taken her passport and may have left Riyadh for an unknown destination inside Saudi Arabia.
In a statement to The Advertiser, a DFAT spokesman said the consulate could not be used to shelter Australians from local laws but Australian consular staff at the embassy in Riyadh would “continue to meet the woman’s consular needs to the maximum extent possible”.
The Arab News said the woman could also face arrest if the husband has fled with her residency papers.
In Saudi Arabia, it is difficult for a woman to obtain an exit visa without the approval of her husband. But without her passport – which she says her husband has stolen from her – she cannot travel anyway, the newspaper said.