Incidents of wives spying on their husbands have surfaced as a growing trend in Saudi society. Police archives are replete with such cases. Most of these women claim that they have the right to do this in order to preserve their rights backed up with solid evidence.
Um Ammar, a Saudi wife, said she was impressed by modern technology, especially social networking site Facebook. She said she insisted her husband add her as one of his friends so she could find out what was going on in his life.
She recalled that a woman friend of hers had discovered that her husband was willing to cheat on her after she joined his Facebook page using a pseudonym. She started communicating with her husband using this fake name. The friend said after months of intimate talk the husband was surprised to find that the woman he was dying to meet was his own wife.
Another Saudi woman, who opted not to be identified, said her husband was constantly traveling due to the nature of his work. She said she and her children never doubted him as they were used to his repeated absences. She said after one of his journeys, her husband began to change.
"I became suspicious that there was another woman in his life. There was nothing I could do but look at his phone call records and search through his personal belongings. He was very keen not to be discovered but I found out about his relationship with another woman from pictures I found in his laptop. Asking for a divorce was my natural reaction to his infidelity," she said.
Um Ahlam said she was jealous by nature. After marriage, she found out that her husband was in love with his cousin and about to marry her had it not been for a last-minute dispute between their parents.
"Whenever I remember this, I feel the fire of jealousy in my chest. I kept thinking that ultimately he would marry her, especially after his old love refused to marry afterward," she said.
Um Ahlam said she had no other option but to use modern technology to spy on her husband, including intercepting his cell phone and e-mail messages.
"Men cannot be trusted. The availability of modern technology will help catch cheating husbands. If I discovered that he was cheating on me, I would not hesitate to divorce him," she said.
On the other hand, Ayah, another Saudi wife, said women who spy on their husbands have no confidence in themselves or those around them. "I am against women spying on their husbands. My true love for him and my caring nature is my protection against him cheating on me. A husband will never look for another woman if he feels safe and stable with his wife," she said.
Commenting on the issue, legal consultant Mashari Saud said wives spying on their husbands has become a phenomenon. He added that such cases were filling the police archives these days. "This act is against the law even if the motive of the woman is to have evidence to produce before the Shariah court, which handles family cases," he said.
Saud warned that husbands have the right to object to these actions and demand punishment against their wives. He said instead of resorting to spying to prove their cases, women can always go for alternative means such as calling witnesses or asking the husband to take an oath.
"If the husband takes his wife to the police on charges of spying, the police will refer the matter to the Prosecution and Investigations Commission (PIC). The commission will in turn deliver the case to the summary court, which will try the woman," he said.
A director of a private company importing espionage equipment said they provide discreet stands with memory cards that can be installed in offices and visually record what is going on. He said the recordings could easily be accessed when the memory card is inserted in a computer.
The director, who did not want his name to be published, said other tools include small camera equipment that can be placed in shirt buttons or other inconspicuous places to make audiovisual recordings of all what the bugged person says or does.
He said there is a small camera with a memory card that can be planted in air fresheners. "There is a chip that uses satellite technology to pinpoint the whereabouts of someone but without photo or sound," he said. He, however, explained that this has not reached the Kingdom yet.
The director also said there are sunglasses that can record all movements by photo and sound. He said the sunglasses could work for 24 hours through a receptor which records immediately to a wireless system.
By DAREEN GALAL