“I am currently arbitrarily held at Al-Ha’ir prison without criminal, or otherwise any charges against my person,” the princess said. “My health is deteriorating.”
A Saudi princess, princess Basma bint Saud, who has been missing for almost a year, spoke publicly for the first time, asking her uncle, King Salman, and her cousin Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to review her case and release her from prison.
“I am currently arbitrarily held at Al-Ha’ir prison without criminal, or otherwise any charges against my person,” read one of the tweets posted last Wednesday on her account. “My health is deteriorating,” she said.
By Friday, the Twitter thread had been deleted.
In her messages deemed authentic, princess Basma who is ill, says she has not received medical care and that her letters to members of the royal family have remained unanswered.
“I was abducted without an explanation together with one of my daughters, and thrown into prison,” she said in one of her tweets.
The princess, 56, is the youngest of King Saud’s more than 100 children. Saud ruled the kingdom from 1953 to 1964.
Over the years, she has been advocating for human and women rights in the kingdom. In 2018 she sharply criticized the war in Yemen, whose direct architect is none other than Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
She was then arrested with her daughter on charges of planning to leave Saudi Arabia without authorization.
Her detention was one of two new cases of Saudi royals locked up during the rise of the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Last month, Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, also a son of a Saudi king, was detained, leaving his family with no idea why he was arrested or where he is being held, according to sources close to his family.
MBS has been introducing social reforms in Saudi Arabia in recent years.
However, the repression of activists and critical voices, have cast a shadow on the country’s widely publicized process of change.
Princess Basma is detained in Al-Ha’ir prison located some 40 kilometers south of the capital, Riyadh. Al-Ha’ir is the country’s largest maximum-security prison where women’s rights’ activist Loujain al-Hathloul is held since February 2019.