A female Saudi student is dead after staff at a Riyadh university blocked male paramedics from entering a women’s-only campus to assist the student who had suffered a heart attack.
Associated Press reports thousands of Saudis vented their anger online over a report Thursday that staff at a Riyadh university had barred male paramedics from entering a women’s-only campus to assist a student who had suffered a heart attack and later died.
The woman, Amna Bawazeer, suffered a heart attack at King Saud University. Male paramedics were barred from entering the women-only campus until an emergency crew was finally allowed to treat her over an hour later, but it was too late.
Many blame Saudi Arabia’s strict segregation laws for the woman’s death. Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam: women are veiled in the company of men and segregation of the sexes is widely enforced by the Saudi religious police, known as the “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.”
The story is reminiscent of a shocking tragedy that occurred in 2002, when a fire broke out at a girl’s school in Mecca, killing 15 students. In that case the Saudi religious police would not allow the girls to escape because they were not wearing headscarves.