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Princess Basmah Released In Saudi Arabia After Almost Three Years In Custody

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 8, 2022

Two members of the Saudi royal family have been released from custody after almost three years in detention. A legal adviser to Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said that she and her daughter Souhoud Al Sharif had been released in the past few days.

“I can confirm that they two ladies were released from their arbitrary imprisonment and arrived at their home in Jeddah on January 6,” said Henri Estramant.

It is not clear why the authorities have decided to release them now. It is believed they are subject to a travel ban, preventing them from leaving the kingdom.

Princess Basmah was arrested in March 2019 when preparing to travel to Switzerland for medical treatment. She was kept in the maximum-security Al-Ha’ir prison near the capital Riyadh. Her daughter Souhoud was held in the same facility.

Little was heard of Basmah during her time in detention. A series of messages were sent from her Twitter account in April 2020 pleading to be released. She was then allowed to make a brief phone call to a relative in Saudi Arabia in May 2021, during which she discussed arrangements for her will “in case anything happened to her”, according to a knowledgeable source at the time.

The Saudi authorities had told the United Nations the previous year that Basmah had been accused of trying to travel outside the kingdom illegally. Her daughter was accused of assaulting an agent and of an unspecified cybercrime. However, Estramant said no formal charges were ever brought against either woman.

A number of other high-profile members of the Saudi royal family have been held without charge in recent years amid a crackdown orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on any signs of dissent or opposition. Those affected have included former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN) and King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s brother Prince Ahmed.

Some have suggested that Basmah’s arrest was linked to her friendship with MBN. Others have suggested that powerful figures were trying to force her to relinquish her inheritance from her father, the late King Saud, who ruled from 1953 to 1964. Basmah was also known as an outspoken advocate of reforms in Saudi Arabia.

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