Not like a fairy tale: Saudi princesses reportedly locked in castle by king for 13 years

King's daughters complain of human rights violations in e-mails, say they haven't left palace since 2001 except to bring groceries.

March 9, 2014 15:04
1 minute read.
Veiled women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Veiled women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 521. (photo credit: REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser )


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The King of Saudi Arabia is keeping four of his daughters captive in his grand palace, their mother told the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Sunday Times reported Sunday.

Alanoud Alfaye, the ex-wife of Saudi King Abdullah said that her daughters are "imprisoned, held against their will, cut off from the world."

The kings daughters have been imprisoned for 13 years. Their half-brother was reportedly put in charge of them by the king and he monitors them, giving them permission to leave the palace only to bring groceries.

Alfaye wrote to the UN's human rights agency, asking them to intervene, the newspaper reported.

Alfayez married the ruler, who has 38 children by a number of wives, when she was 15-years-old. He was in his 40s and together they had four daughters. They eventually divorced.

Two of the sisters, princesses Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38, wrote in an e-mail to the Sunday Times that their two other sisters, Hala, 39 and Maha, 41, were also living secluded in the compound but separate from them. 

"We slowly watch each other fading away into nothingness," they said, adding that their sister Hala had told them "that her mind is slipping away ... that the life is being sucked out of her," they wrote.

Under Saudi law, King Abdullah has the right to force his daughters to stay inside the palace, as he is legally allowed to limit their travel. All females must have a male guardian, usually a father, brother or a husband.

The guardian must approve many aspects of their lives, including travel.

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