Ex-Wife of Saudi King Asks Obama For Aid In Freeing Her Daughters

Ex-Wife of Saudi King Asks Obama For Aid In Freeing Her Daughters

A cast-off wife of Saudi Arabia's billionaire king has appealed to Barack Obama for help freeing the four adult daughters she says have been held in a Saudi royal palace against their will for over a decade.

Alanoud AlFayez, 57, made her public plea to the president on Thursday, just a day before he is scheduled to visit King Abdullah for just the second time.

'Mr Obama should take this opportunity to address these grave violations committed against my daughters,' said AlFayez.

AlFayez, who has lived in London since Abdullah divorced her in 2003, said her ex-husband's treatment of their daughters has worsened lately after 13 years in confinement.

She told AFP that their already rare trips outside to buy food and medicine for themselves and their pets have now stopped.

'Since 13 years, my daughters Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher are being held captive,' AlFayez said. 'They need to be saved and released immediately.'

AlFayez has written to the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to say that her daughters are 'imprisoned, held against their will, cut off from the world'.

Sahar and Jawaher told the Sunday Times in an email that they were being kept alone in a house most of which is closed off as they have been left to fend for themselves with nobody to help them with the housework.

They did not reveal how they got access to internet.

'We have no passports or ID, we are under house arrest, with little food left for ourselves and pets,' Sahar, 42, wrote to AFP.

'On their orders, they have been literally starving us since last Wednesday. We are now living on one meal a day, leaving the little remaining meat for our pets and sipping little water in this heat, to save up. Our energy is quite low and we are trying our best to survive.' she wrote.

Abdullah became king of Saudi Arabia in 2005. The oil-rich state is a key ally of the U.S. in the Middle East and its extensive royal family enjoy massive wealth, with the king one of the world's richest men.

Ms Alfayez was only 15 years old when she married King Abdullah, who was then in his 40s, but he divorced her just over a decade later.

The king, who has 38 children by a number of wives, has placed his four daughters with Alfayez under the control of three of their half-brothers, according to Sahar.

Under Saudi law, girls and women are forbidden from travelling, conducting official business, or undergoing certain medical procedures without the express permission of their male guardians.

Sahar said that the sisters had enjoyed a pampered adolescence but that animosity towards her and her sisters had grown after they began to complain to their father about the poverty endured by most of the Saudi people.


-Culled from DM

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