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article imageActivists rally under #FreeThe4 for imprisoned Saudi Princesses

By Justin King     Apr 27, 2014 in World
Jeddah - Princess Sahar’s recent video urging an uprising has reinvigorated support for the princess and her three sisters who are reportedly being held in confinement on King Abdullah’s order.
Princess Sahar, 42, and her sisters are being held in the royal compound in Jeddah. Princesses Sahar and Jawaher are being held in one section of the compound, while Maha and Hala are being held in another. The princesses report being beaten and indications are that food and water has now been denied. The video plea states that victory is within grasp of the imprisoned princesses. They have been confined in large part, due to their support for women’s rights in the Kingdom. The women have been confined for 13 years and have been forbidden to travel or leave the compound.
According to a 2013 report from Amnesty International, women in Saudi Arabia face “discrimination in law and practice.”
One of the images being circulated under the #FreeThe4 banner to garner support for the Princesses.
One of the images being circulated under the #FreeThe4 banner to garner support for the Princesses.
Princess Sahar
The Twitter hashtag #FreeThe4 has come alive with renewed support for the four princesses and the cause of women’s rights within the Kingdom. Today a tweet requested medicine for Princess Jawaher’s respiratory condition. The hashtag also shows that demonstrations have been planned for April 30th and May 3rd at the Saudi Embassy in London, petitions are circulating requesting the United Nations to intervene, and some users are sending tweets directly to @kaec_saudi, the King’s Twitter account, asking him to release the women. One user offered the King this advice:
don't allow that Soil of Nation [To] Be Desecrate with [The] Royal Blood Of Your Daughters. Rather Banish Them.
This is not the first attempt to gain exile for the princesses. The girls’ mother, Al Anood Al Fayez, who is currently in exile in London pleaded with President Obama to intercede on her daughters' behalf with King Abdullah but the President refused to bring the issue up. The President’s administration oversaw the largest arms sale in US history in 2010, in which Saudi Arabia purchased over $60 billion dollars of US weaponry.
After the meeting of the two heads of state, Ms. Al Fayez said
When Mr. Obama met with my ex-husband last week, he did not demand the liberation of my daughters, nor all the Saudi women enslaved by mindless, medieval government in which women are property. This clear Obama failure should be a permanent part of his legacy. He could have changed that by being the first American president to address women and human rights abuses by the Saudi King.
She was open in her belief that her daughters' progressive attitude and western education are responsible for the King imprisoning them.
I taught my daughters to be strong and speak the truth even to their powerful father, who doesn’t enjoy being challenged and especially not by women. When my daughters told their father his wealthy kingdom is full of terrible poverty, he called them liars, even as hundreds of men and women wait under the scorching Arabian sun to plead for the king’s help in ameliorating their dire economic or medical situations.
Many are concerned for the safety of the princesses after the video, as some suspect that the King will respond harshly.
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