American woman released from Saudi custody dispute

An American woman who had publicly accused her ex-husband of imprisoning their daughter in Saudi Arabia under so-called guardianship regulations was released on Wednesday following a brief imprisonment for her social media statements, she said.

Carly Morris was arrested on Monday, and the whereabouts of her eight-year-old daughter, Tala, were unknown, according to the Washington-based Freedom Initiative, which advocates for unlawfully incarcerated individuals throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Morris told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday that she had been released overnight.

She told AFP, “I was released from jail late last night.”

She stated, “They detained me for two days due to my tweets.”

Morris informed AFP over Whatsapp that her kid was safe, but she accused her ex-husband of stealing all of their stuff from their hotel room.

Today, I accompanied her to school. She is currently with me, although we have no clothing or footwear “She stated,

He acquired everything.

Morris and her daughter traveled to Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2019 in order to spend a few weeks with the girl’s father.

However, as soon as they arrived in Riyadh, he confiscated their travel documents and arranged for the girl to become a Saudi citizen, assuring that he could prevent her from leaving.

In September, she received a summons from Saudi authorities informing her that she was being investigated for “disturbing public order,” a development Morris suspected was related to social media posts about her case.

According to an electronic document seen by AFP, she was subsequently notified that she had been placed under a travel ban.

The family of Morris’s ex-husband has not replied to AFP’s requests for comment.

According to advocacy groups, this case illustrates the continued control males have over women under the kingdom’s renowned guardianship rules.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, has received praise for relaxing restrictions on women’s rights to travel and work.

However, human rights organizations warn that women still require permission from a male guardian to marry and experience prejudice in divorce and custody battles.

Tuesday at a press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price stated that Washington was “aware of allegations that Ms. Morris has been detained.”

“Our embassy in Riyadh is really involved in this case; they are closely monitoring the situation,” he said.

Morris’s detention occurred amid heightened tensions between Riyadh and Washington, which has vehemently opposed the OPEC+ cartel’s decision to restrict oil production, arguing that it amounted to backing with Russia in the Ukraine conflict.

President Biden was heavily criticized by human rights organizations for traveling to Jeddah and meeting with Prince Mohammed in July, some months before these cuts were finalized, thereby contradicting a previous commitment to make Saudi Arabia “a pariah.”

Allison McManus, director of research for the Freedom Initiative, stated that Morris’s case is “yet another indication that Saudi Arabia does not regard the United States as an ally.”

“Before any further mention of Saudi Arabia’s strategic alliance, the mistreatment of American individuals must cease. We must cease the mistreatment of women and children whose only offense is their gender.”