An outspoken Saudi princess who has been missing for over a year has revealed she is being held in prison and urged the country’s authorities to release her as she has severe health issues.
Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, 56, who has been outspoken on human rights issues, made her first public statement since she went missing after reportedly trying to leave Saudi Arabia for Switzerland in March 2019.
Writing on her official Twitter profile, Princess Basmah said she had been abducted with her daughter with no explanation provided and is being held in the maximum-security Al-Hair Prison with no criminal charges.
However, it is unclear how she gained access to her social media account while locked up.
‘Insider’ report a close family as having said that she had been accused of procuring a fake passport by Saudi state security, which she denies.
The princess said she was suffering from severe health issues that “could lead to her death,” warning that “I have not received medical care or even response to the letters I dispatched from jail to the Royal Court.”
The Princess made an appeal to her “dear uncle” King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and her cousin Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to “review” her case, saying she has “done no wrong” and adding that her condition is “very critical”.
Princess Basmah has written several articles on human rights for a range of news outlets and has supported constitutional reforms in Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with the BCC in 2018 she called for an end to the country’s military intervention in Yemen.
Rothna Begum, who works as a senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, told local media outlet Middle East Eye that the arrest of the princess “ should come as no surprise”.
She added: “Princess Basmah has been openly critical of the country’s women’s rights record in the past and her arrest shows that no woman, no matter her background, is untouchable if she is deemed to be a potential threat.”
The Saudi authorities are yet to comment on the case.
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