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Imprisoned Saudi Princess Basmah 'incommunicado' since pleading for release in April

Princess Basmah was abducted by Saudi authorities in March 2019 [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 May, 2020

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A statement from the princess's official Twitter account says she has not been heard from since April 17.


Imprisoned Saudi Princess Basmah bint Saud has been cut off from communicating with the outside world since pleading last month for her release, according to her office.

Princess Basmah, who is a daughter of the late King Saud, broke a 13-month long silence in April to appeal to her uncle, King Salman, and cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In the rare public appeal from a member of the secretive royal family, she voiced fears that her "deteriorating health" in Riyadh's high-security Al-Ha'ir prison - known for holding terrorism convicts and political prisoners - could result in her death.

Just hours later, those tweets were deleted.

Two sources close to her family told AFP at the time that account had been briefly hacked "by someone in Saudi Arabia".

But the princess has not been heard from since, raising fears about her safety.

"The direct and indirect weekly communications from Princess Basmah bint Saud with her family have been cut off completely since the tweet on April 17th, 2020. We have not received any information about her deteriorating health or legal status," read a statement posted to Princess Basmah's Twitter account on Wednesday.

The statement also reiterated a plea to release the princess and her daughter, Suhoud Al Sharif, from prison.

The case highlights what observers say is increasing repression under de facto ruler Prince Mohammed, and the latest sign of turmoil within the royal family following the detention in March this year of King Salman's brother and nephew.

The youngest child of late King Saud bin Abdulaziz, Princess Basmah was preparing to travel to Switzerland on a private jet in March 2019 for medical treatment when a group of men claiming to work for the king showed up at her Jeddah penthouse.

They said they were there to escort the princess for a private meeting with the monarch, according to the sources. Unwilling to let her mother go alone, Suhoud accompanied her.

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