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Saudis free princess jailed without charge for nearly three years

Saudi Princess Basmah Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz speaks during a discussion on the role of women in the Middle East at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC on April 12, 2017. (Mandel NGAN / AFP)
Saudi Princess Basmah Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz speaks during a discussion on the role of women in the Middle East at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC on April 12, 2017. (Mandel NGAN / AFP)

Saudi authorities have released a princess detained in the kingdom under mysterious circumstances for nearly three years, her supporters say.

The princess, Basmah bint Saud, a daughter of Saudi Arabia’s second king, disappeared in March 2019 and landed in a notorious Saudi prison without charge, she wrote on social media at the time.

The reason for her arrest along with her daughter was not clear, as she never wielded significant influence. But it marked the latest case against a royal family member as the headstrong Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidated power as the kingdom’s de factor leader.

The 58-year-old Princess Basmah and her 30-year-old daughter Suhoud al-Sharif left al-Ha’ir Prison on the outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, last week and returned home to the port city of Jiddah Thursday, says her legal adviser Henri Estramant. Princess Basmah suffers from health problems including osteoporosis and is now focused on recovering and spending time with family, he adds.

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