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Saudi Arabia releases Princess Basma bint Saud after 3 years

The Saudi authorities released Princess Basma bint Saud, daughter of King Saud, who died in 1964 after three years of detention in mysterious circumstances, and the woman disappeared in March 2019 in mysterious circumstances and ended up in prison without being charged.

The reason for the arrest was not clear, not least because the princess was not very influential, but it appeared as another attack on a member of the royal family when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidated his power as de facto leader.

The 58-year-old princess was in prison with her 30-year-old daughter, Sohoud Sharif. Lawyer Henry Estramant said that the two women left Al-Ha’ir prison on the outskirts of Riyadh last week, returning to the city of Jeddah. The lawyer said the princess has health problems, including osteoporosis, and will now need treatment and will spend time with her family.

In 2020, the Saudi mission to the United Nations in Geneva informed the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions that the princess is “accused of crimes related to attempting to travel illegally outside the kingdom”, without trial.

According to Estramant, the woman and her daughter were picked up by security officers as they prepared to leave for Switzerland for routine medical treatment. The princess’ health has deteriorated dramatically in three years of detention, according to Britain’s Grant Liberty organisation, which is campaigning for her release, saying she was “deprived of essential medicines”.

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Harold Manning

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