Saudi Arabian Woman Who Tried to Flee Put in Protective Custody

  • Dina Ali was stopped last week in Manila on way to Australia
  • Authorities searching for appropriate solutions for her case

A 24-year-old Saudi woman who was sent back to Riyadh after being stopped en route to Australia -- where she said she was seeking asylum -- was placed in protective custody as authorities work to resolve her case.

Dina Ali is being held in a detention facility for women aged under 30 as a precaution and does not face any charges, according to a Saudi government official with knowledge of the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Dina’s case spread widely on social media after she recorded a video with the help of a Canadian tourist at Manila airport, where she was stopped during a layover, in which she said she feared her family would kill her if she returned. Her situation centers on the strict guardianship rules in Saudi Arabia that make women legal dependents of male relatives, typically a husband or father, meaning they can’t leave the country without permission.

It is not clear how she was stopped or on what basis. In a statement on Twitter, the Saudi embassy in Manila called the case a “family affair,” and said Dina had returned to Saudi Arabia with relatives.

Authorities are trying to find “appropriate solutions” to allow her to live a normal life, the Saudi official said.

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