Saudi princess Basma released after nearly three years in jail

Riyadh: The authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have released Princess Basma bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and her daughter who had been held without charge for nearly three years in the capital, a London-based human rights organization ALQST said on Saturday.

57-year-old, Princess Basma, a businesswoman, activist and member of the royal family, went missing in March 2019 along with her adult daughter Souhoud Al-Sharif.

“During the detention period, no charges were brought against Basma. During that time, she was deprived of the health care necessary for a critical health condition,”  Human Rights Organization ALQST tweeted.

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In 2020, Princess Basmah said via her social media channels that she had been held for more than a year and was sick.

The Saudi princess was detained in Al-Hayer prison near Riyadh, which is known to hold many political detainees.

She was due to travel abroad for medical treatment around the time of her arrest in late February 2019 and was informed after her detention by a relative of hers that she was accused of trying to forge a passport. The nature of her illness was not disclosed.

Pressure on Saudi Arabia

It is noteworthy that in March 2021, the legal advisor to Princess Basma Bint Saud, Henry Estramant, called on the United Kingdom to pressure the Saudi authorities to release her and her daughter, Souhoud Al Sharif.

According to a report by the Guardian newspaper at the time, two separate letters were filed by Estramant and Lucy Ray of the British Human Rights Organization to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.

In the letter, they said that Princess Basma suffers from a heart condition that requires urgent medical treatment and that “her life depends on her release.”

The authorities in the Kingdom carried out a massive campaign of arrests over the past years, including members of the royal family and influential figures.

Princess Basma is the youngest daughter of the second king of Saudi Arabia, Saud bin Abdulaziz, who ruled the country in the early sixties of the last century.

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