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Saudi temporarily releases 19 Filipino women arrested for attending Halloween party

Saudi temporarily releases 19 Filipino women arrested for attending Halloween party

The women were among several Saudis and foreign nationals who were arrested on Friday in Riyadh after a raid

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have temporarily released 19 women from the Philippines who were detained in the kingdom for attending a Halloween party, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that the women, who were detained on Friday and were being held at the Al Nisa prison, will be released and turned over to the custody of the Philippine embassy in Riyadh.

Earlier, the DFA had said that 17 Filipino women were arrested after Saudi intelligence operatives raided a private compound in Riyadh where the Halloween party was taking place. The women were among several Saudis and foreign nationals who were arrested.

“The compound was raided after neighbors complained of loud noise from the party,” the Department said. Images purported to be from the party showed people dressed as zombie nuns.

Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto said the decision to temporarily release the women “was made possible because of the strong representations made by the Embassy with Saudi authorities.”

He added that “authorities may file charges against the Filipinos for violating Sharia law, which prohibits interaction especially in public among unattached men and women.”

The DFA also reminded its nationals working in the Middle East to observe local traditions and abide by their laws.

The embassy also issued an advisory “urging members of the Filipino community to be mindful of local sensitivities.”

More than one million Philippine nationals currently work in Saudi Arabia.

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