03/24/2015, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA
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Saudi women will check men’s passports at airport

The unprecedented decision will apply to Madinah airport. Until now, women were only allowed to check the passports of women wearing a niqab who did not want to show their face to male officers.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In a breakthrough development, Saudi authorities will allow Saudi female officers to check passports for both men and women.

The new officers will be deployed at the passport control counters at Prince Mohammad Bin Abdul Aziz airport in Madinah, said Hisham Al Raddadi, the spokesperson for passports in the holy city.

Prior to the decision, women officers at airports were tasked only with checking the identity of female passengers who wore niqab (pictured) and did not want to be seen by male officers.

“In preparation for the opening of the new airport [. . .], 32 women have been trained on the passport control procedures,” Al Raddadi told Al Watan.

“The officers, 23 with military ranks and nine civilians, received training on the procedures to enter passenger and passport details and fingerprints.”

“Several officers have been trained to help ensure smooth and speedy procedures for all passengers at the new airport,” said Budoor Al Mutairi, one of the new officers.

In December, security authorities had already started deploying women officers on the Kingdom’s highways and roads to check the identity of female passengers who refused to allow male officers to check their identity.

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