Saudi princess Basma Bint Saud, jailed without charge for 3 years, released: Rights Group

Saudi officials were not immediately available for comment on the matter. (To file)


Saudi authorities have released a princess and her daughter who had been held without charge for nearly three years in the capital, a human rights group said on Saturday.

Basma bint Saud, 57, a member of the royal family long regarded as a supporter of women’s rights and a constitutional monarchy, has been detained since March 2019 and in April 2020 implored King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to release her for health reasons.

“Basma bint Saud Al Saud and her daughter Suhoud (…) have been released,” the ALQST for human rights said on Twitter.

“She was denied the medical treatment she needed for a potentially fatal illness,” the rights group added. “At no time during her detention were charges brought against her.”

Saudi officials were not immediately available for comment on the matter.

Princess Basmah was arrested shortly before a planned trip to Switzerland for medical treatment, according to a source close to the family.

The nature of his illness has never been disclosed.

Prince Mohammed has overseen a campaign of reforms since being appointed by his father, King Salman, in June 2017, at the expense of the previous designated heir to the throne, Mohammed bin Nayef.

The reforms included lifting a decades-long driving ban and relaxing so-called “guardianship” rules that give men arbitrary authority over women in their families.

But Saudi authorities have also cracked down on dissidents and even potential opponents, ranging from preachers to women’s rights activists and even members of the royal family.

Princess Basmah was held at Al-Ha’ir Prison, where many other political detainees were held.

In written testimony to the United Nations in 2020, seen by AFP, his family said his detention was likely due in large part to his “record of scathing criticism of the abuse.”

She was also seen as an ally of Mohammed bin Nayef, the written testimony adds.

In November 2017, a massive anti-corruption campaign saw Riyadh’s luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel serve for three months as a de facto detention center for dozens of princes and senior officials suspected of corruption or disloyalty.

In March 2020, the royal guard arrested King Salman’s brother and nephew, accusing them of plotting a coup against Prince Mohammed, according to several sources.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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