Abducted Saudi princess makes Ramadan plea for release from maximum security prison

Abducted Saudi princess makes Ramadan plea for release from maximum security prison
Princess Basmah bint Saud al Saud has urged her uncle and her cousin to 'find justice in their hearts' this Ramadan, in her latest plea for release.
3 min read
28 April, 2020
Princess Basmah's heath is reportedly deteriorating [Getty]
A jailed Saudi princess has made her second appeal in two weeks for her release from Saudi Arabia's Al-Ha'ir maximum security prison.

In a letter posted on her official Twitter account, Princess Basmah bint Saud al Saud urged her uncle, King Salman, and her cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to "find justice in their hearts" to release her during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“This week, Muslims around the globe begin our holy month of Ramadan, one that most of us shall spend with family, even if much limited owing to the ongoing pandemic,” she said in the letter.

“I... will be spending the month at Ha'ir prison unless my uncle, custodian of the two holy mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, and my cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud, decide to release me.”

In the letter, the princess also highlighted how she had been abducted and jailed along with her daughter, Suhoud Al Sharif, with no charges brought against them. She added that her health is deteriorating and "may lead to my death".

The plea follows a series of tweets posted on the princess' behalf earlier this month urging her release. The tweets were the royal's fist public statements since being abducted in 2018.

Hailing from a royal family that has faced fierce criticism over human rights abuses, Princess Basmah is known as an outspoken human rights advocate.

The princess has written a number of rights-related articles for various news outlets. She has also advocated for constitutional reforms and criticised uneven power structures in the kingdom.

During a 2018 BBC interview, Princess Basmah called for an end to Saudi Arabia's military intervention in Yemen.

"I am still an obedient citizen and I will always be behind the royal family," she told The Independent in 2012.

"But I will never be quiet about what is happening on the ground."

Read more: Could Mohammed bin Salman's power grab unravel Al Saud rule?

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler, has conducted repeated crackdowns on senior royal family members as recently as last month.

In March, Saudi authorities arrested three princes - including King Salman's brother and nephew - on charges of "plotting a coup to unseat the king and crown prince".

The detained royals could face lifetime imprisonment or execution.

MbS' most stunning purge was launched in 2017, when hundreds of Saudi royals, government officials, and business people were rounded up and detained at Riyadh's Ritz Carlton hotel.

While Saudi officials stated the sweep aimed to tackle corruption in the kingdom, analysts and critics chalked the purge up to MbS' efforts to consolidate power and sideline perceived rivals.

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