U.S. Woman Arrested in Saudi Arabia Starbucks

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  02.07.08 | 2:51 PM ET

Her “crime,” according to the Times of London: sitting with a man who was not her husband. She was hauled away by a member of Saudi Arabia’s Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The woman works for a company in Saudi Arabia and visited the Starbucks with male colleagues to use the Internet after their Riyadh office suffered an outage.

A judge later reportedly told the woman, “You are sinful and you are going to burn in hell.”

Further proof, as I have contended, that, for better and worse, the spread of Starbucks is not changing the world.

Related on World Hum:
* Audio Slide Show: Starbucks vs. the Traveler

8 Comments for U.S. Woman Arrested in Saudi Arabia Starbucks

Eva 02.07.08 | 4:11 PM ET

“Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” - the name alone gives me chills.

John M. Edwards 02.07.08 | 9:00 PM ET

Hi Eva:

It certainly sounds like the woman was falsely accused, if she was just having a cup of joe with her colleagues.

Zara 02.08.08 | 12:36 AM ET

While I certainly DO NOT condone the oppressive way in which women are treated in Saudi Arabia (note that the men involved in this episode were not arrested for immorality), I have to say this:  She lives and works in Saudi Arabia.  She has to know something about the culture.  How could she and her colleagues be so clueless!

muztagh 02.08.08 | 7:50 AM ET

thanks for great post

Grizzly Bear Mom 02.08.08 | 12:38 PM ET

When working in Saudi Arabia, my friend helped a women who had fallen.  A preist beat him with a stick.  Over there you don’t touch women who aren’t your wife.  Alternatively, he and another male friend of mine were frequently propositioned by Saudi Men, as were the stewardESSes there.  Those unchaparoned women must be up to no good, right?  And if they women say no, well men have sexual needs that need satisfying… I’ve heard that the Koran doesn’t prohibit homosexuality.

Jade Ali 03.05.08 | 11:31 PM ET

Quoting Grizzly Bear Mom :

You really should read the Holy Quran before saying something so stupid like that. ANYTHING that is Against nature, is A SIN! (homosexuality especially) So please educate yourself and then try not to look like a fool by your stupid comments!.

Uncle B 03.15.08 | 4:57 PM ET

When the Saudis and OPEC own you, and they will, because you are addicted to gasoline and they have it all, At least they’ll treat your women better than big breasted, neutered, skinny, painted, sex-machines. Come to Canada and check out treatment of our women, you may be surprised to find they have rights and expectations other than as boy-toys, and they aren’t all Muslim either!

Find a lawyer 06.16.08 | 9:09 PM ET

I wonder what happened to her after she was arrested.  Is this a serious crime? What are her rights to a trial? A lawyer? It’s pretty frightening to think of getting caught up in a foreign court system. 

Also, I wonder if Saudi Arabia’s judicial system affords men different treatment/rights than women when they’re accused of a crime. 

-Nick from Avvo

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