Saudi Arabia Releases 19 Filipinos Detained for Going to a Halloween Party

Saudi authorities have freed 19 Filipino women who were detained since Friday for attending a Halloween party and are now in temporary custody of the Philippine embassy in Riyadh.

The Philippine ambassador in Saudi Arabia, Adnan Alonto, on Tuesday got the chief prosecutor Khalid Al Hozaimi to provide him with the names of the detained Filipinos, which were eventually 19 and not 17 as originally reported, he said in the Department of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

The prosecutor's office agreed with the ambassador to release the women from Al Nisa prison and deliver them awaiting trial to the custody of the Philippine delegation in Riyadh.

According to the report sent by Ambassador Alonto to Manila, the Saudi authorities can bring charges against the Filipinos for violating the "sharia" or Islamic law, which prohibits public interaction between men and women without family ties.

The 19 women were among several Saudis and foreigners who were arrested during a police raid at a Halloween party in a private compound in Riyadh.

As a result of this event, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs urged the thousands of Filipino migrant workers abroad to "take into account local sensitivities" and to respect the laws and laws of the host countries.

According to foreign data, some 3,000 Filipinos leave their country every day with temporary employment contracts abroad, many of them in Arab countries where women tend to work as domestic workers and men in the construction sector.

Around 10 million Filipinos are migrant workers abroad and sending their remittances accounted for 10.46 percent of the Philippine GDP in 2017, according to the World Bank.


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