The latest curb on women's freedom has just been introduced in the strict Islamic Kingdom. Women are now tracked electronically if they try to leave the country. Husbands are alerted via a text message to their mobile phones.
Only last week did Digital Journal report Iranian lawmakers are considering
proposals that will require single women under 40 to obtain permission from their father or male guardian in order to obtain a passport or travel outside Iran.
reported one Saudi man was alerted by the immigration authorities that his wife had flown out of Riyadh airport. He was not amused by the alert as he was travelling with his wife at the time. If his wife had been attempting to leave him the text would have come a little too late, but he had already signed a written consent form allowing his wife to travel.
The new system was introduced in response to an incident that occurred in July. A Saudi woman, aided by a Saudi and Lebanese man, managed to flee to Sweden without her husband's consent. Both men were arrested for assisting the woman and are now in a Saudi jail. According to the Saudi Gazette
the woman travelled on a forged permit. The fake document carried a forgery of her father's signature but all travel documents require the husband's signature if a woman is married.
Electronic tracking has swiftly been condemned on social media sites. The Daily Star
reported on some of the tweets that are circulating. They include "Hello Taliban, herewith some tips from the Saudi e-government!" and the rather apt "Why don't we just install a microchip into our women to track them around?"
In spite of Saudi King Abdullah, 89, being considered a reformist, the latest oppressive move against women has rather sinister tones.