A Saudi princess imprisoned in Riyadh for almost three years has been released. A human rights organization announced it on Saturday.
Basmah bint Saud, 57, daughter of the second Saudi king, has been incarcerated since March 2019 in a notorious Saudi prison where many other political prisoners are held. In a statement written two years ago, her family said her detention was likely due in part to being a “frank critic of the abuse in her home country”.
Just before her arrest, she was about to go abroad for medical treatment. After her arrest, Basmah reportedly learned that she was suspected of having forged a passport.
The woman has now been released with her daughter, said ALQST, a London-based human rights organization specializing in Saudi Arabia. The NGO stressed in the statement that the woman had been detained for three years without any official charges being laid against her.
The ALQST also deplores the Saudi government’s “negligence” in monitoring the health of the princess.
In April 2020, Basmah bint Saud had already via Twitter requested the release of King Salman and the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman because she was in urgent need of medical help. The tweets disappeared after 48 hours.
Basmah bint Saud was known for many years as one of the few prominent Saudis to speak up and criticize the way women are treated in the country. She had also spoken out in favor of a constitutional monarchy and against the “extremely dangerous” dominant religious doctrine.
She is one of more than 100 children of King Saud, overthrown in 1964.
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