Did King Abdullah Hold His Daughters Captive For Talking About Women's Rights?

As world leaders and dignitaries gather to honor the former leader of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, human rights activists and supporters of women's rights are more focused on his victims including, four of his own daughters. It is reported that the daughters have been kept under house arrest for 13 years after they spoke out on women's rights, abusive conditions, and political prisoners, and many see Abdullah as unworthy of the praise being lavished upon the former king.

The exact number of wives that King Abdullah had is a bit unclear but the numbers range anywhere from seven to as many as 30, and he is known to have at least 15 daughters, possibly more, and four of those daughters are said to have been kept under house arrest. Their ordeal came to light in the public eye when word of the the dire conditions in which four of the daughters were being kept made its way into the news.

Princess Jawaher, age 38, Princes Sahar, age 42, Princess Hala, age 39, and Princess Maha, age 41 had their case brought to the public's attention by their mother, Alanoud Al-Fayez, who has been living in the United Kingdom since her final divorce from the late Saudi leader in 1985. She says that her daughters have been kept in abusive conditions in captivity for over a decade and offer suffer from deprivation due to Abdullah's cruelty and brutal reign.

It is reported that King Abdullah's daughters have been separated and that the Maha and Hala are kept in a separate location apart from Sahar and Jawaher, who news agencies were able to reach last May. Sahar and Jawaher made their story public as they told of their conditions and said that they were often running out of food and water as they suffered at the cruel hands of their father, who their mother says despised their modern upbringing and their belief in women's rights, which can certainly be seen in the conditions under King Abdullah's rule.

In an email to a news agency, Princess Sahar told of their plight and their despair at the hands of their father, King Abdullah.

"We, along with our mother, have always been vocal all our lives about poverty, women's rights and other causes that are dear to our hearts. We often discussed them with our father. It did not sit well with him and his sons, Mitab and Abdel Aziz, and their entourage. We have been the targets ever since."
She also continues to tell how, at King Abudullah's direction, each of them had, at some point, been drugged, kidnapped and taken captive and have survived mental and physical abuse and were told to "lose all hope."

Under King Abdullah's reign, Saudi Arabia has been known for its cruelty and lack of basic human rights, especially for political opposition and women. Beheadings are a common punishment in the nation and women are strictly regulated, required to have male guardians and are forbidden to drive anywhere in the Saudi Arabia.

[Image: National Post]