Saudi Princess Is Released From Jail After 3 Years

BEIRUT, Lebanon – A Saudi princess, a strident critic of her country’s government who was jailed nearly three years ago for unclear reasons, has been released, a legal adviser to her family said on Sunday.

The princess, Basmah bint Saud, returned home with her daughter Suhoud, who was imprisoned with her, on Thursday, according to legal adviser Henri Estramant.

But it was not clear whether the women would be allowed to travel abroad, an urgent issue because Princess Basmah needs medical care that is not available in the kingdom, Estramant said.

Princess Basmah was among several prominent Saudi dissidents and members of the Saudi royal family imprisoned or placed under house arrest during the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has consolidated his control over the kingdom since the ascension of his father, King Salman. to the Saudi throne in 2015.

Those arrested include women who publicly campaigned for the right to drive, which was formally granted in 2018, and members of the royal family whom Prince Mohammed, who is often referred to by his initials, MBS, may have considered a threat to your control.

Some of the detainees have been released but have been banned from traveling abroad. Those detained include the former crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, and at least two sons of the previous monarch, King Abdullah.

The Saudi government never explained why Princess Basmah, 58, and Suhoud, around 30, were arrested at their home in the Saudi city of Jeddah in March 2019.

Mr. Estramant said that the two women were charged with indefinite “criminal offenses” and held in Al Ha’ir prison, near the capital Riyadh, but that they were never formally charged with any crime.

He said it was unclear why the women had been released, but praised the move.

“We are pleased that the royal court and MBS agreed to release them both,” he said. “It is a good sign that the country continues its process to develop the rule of law.”

Representatives for the Saudi government could not immediately be reached for comment.

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