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Under the so-called guardianship system, Saudi women are given a legal status similar to that of minors.
Vierra can find a way to leave the kingdom, Zaina cannot go with her unless he grants permission. Carroll said she feared provoking his family and endangering her cousin. Vierra confirmed the general outlines of her story but declined to comment further for fear of exacerbating her situation.
Her ex-husband did not respond to phone calls and messages seeking comment.
All must have a male “guardian” — usually a father or husband, but sometimes a son or uncle — whose permission they need to obtain passports, pursue certain medical procedures or travel.
These rules extend to foreign women who marry Saudis, like Ms.