Saudis free princess who had been detained for three years

Saudi authorities have released a princess detained with her daughter in the kingdom under mysterious circumstances for three years

Basmah bint Saud Al Saud and her daughter Suhoud, detained since March 2019, have been released,” the UK-based non-profit organisation ALQST for Human Rights tweeted yesterday.

Basmah is the youngest daughter of King Saud, who ruled Saudi Arabia between 1953 and 1964. She has long been a proponent of women’s rights and the formation of a constitutional monarchy.

The 57-year-old was arrested in 2019 as she was about to travel to Switzerland for undisclosed medical treatment. She reportedly implored King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to release her on health grounds in April 2020.

“She was denied the medical care she needed for a potentially life-threatening condition,” ALQST for Human Rights said.

In a statement to the UN last July, Princess Basmah’s family called for an intervention in the case “amid serious concerns that their lives are in danger”.

That statement was issued on behalf of the family by the UK-based non-profit Grant Liberty, whose PR director Lucy Rae said at the time: “In Saudi Arabia today, many activists and human rights defenders are languishing in jail simply for the crime of wanting a better world. They have been tortured, forced into hunger strikes and held in lone confinement for months on end. Princess Basmah and her daughter appear to have joined their number and been targeted due to speaking out against the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.”

Earlier testimony by the family to the UN also noted she was deemed an ally of Mohammed bin Nayef, the past designated heir to the throne, who is reportedly nevertheless under house arrest in the country.

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