Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Captive Saudi Princesses Speak Out on Twitter

Childhood photo of King with princesses

A childhood photo of the King with Princesses Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher. Shared on Channel 4 News.

It's the stuff of fairytales for princesses to be locked in a tower, but in today's Saudi Arabia, four princesses, Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher say they have been held against their will in a royal compound in Jeddah for nearly 13 years.

Their mother, Princess Alanoud Al Fayez, is a former wife of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and has broken silence from the safety of London. The princesses themselves have communicated with a Channel 4 News television crew by email, saying they were taken captive for speaking up for women's rights.

Princess Sahar

Princess Sahar sent this photo of herself to Channel 4 News.

“People don't realise how hard our situation is. They still see us as ‘pampered’ Saudi Princesses. We never were. We suffer on a daily basis,” said Princess Sahar by email to Channel 4.

Mother (@AlanoudDAlfayez) and two daughters (@Jawaher1776 and @Art_Moqawama) have also taken to Twitter, where they are speaking out full throttle against their captors, and about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries in general.

Princess Sahar tweeted this photo on March 9, 2014 of deteriorating conditions where they are held.

Twitter is abuzz with questions and comments from people who are shocked to hear the news. The princesses themselves have been replying and retweeting messages from supporters who learned of their plight from Channel 4.

The concerned mother has attempted to get her daughters released with the help of UN's special rapporteur on human rights. She says she is especially worried for the health of Princess Hala, who allegedly suffers from anorexia.

The house of Saud has not commented on the matter.

The billionaire king (thought to be 89) is frequently visited by world leaders and dignitaries. Using their own experience as an example, the princesses jab at leaders in the West who they say do too little for the human rights of women and children in Saudi Arabia.

Channel 4 uploaded a video of their report to the Web on March 10, 2014.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site