UN: Claim of captive Saudi princesses received

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UN: Claim of captive Saudi princesses received
File - In this Tuesday, May 11, 2010 file photo, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz, salutes as he arrives to the opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consultative summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain said Wednesday, March 5, 2014 that they have recalled their ambassadors from the Gulf nation of Qatar over its alleged breach of a regional security deal in the clearest sign yet of the rift among Gulf Arab countries over Islamists in the region. Tensions have been brewing between Gulf countries and Qatar since Egyptians ousted President Hosni Mubarak and Qatar?s massive financial and public support for his successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, stood at odds with the UAE and Saudi Arabia?s policies. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, Dec 29, 2013 file photo, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah speaks during a meeting at the Saudi Royal palace, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah has ratified a new counter-terrorism law which went into effect Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. Rights activists said that the law criminalizes speech critical of the government or society. It was published in full in the government's official gazette Um Al-Qura Friday. (AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard, Pool, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 file photo, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah speaks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry before their meeting in Rawdat Khurayim, a secluded royal hunting retreat in Saudi Arabia. The United Nations has received pleas to help free several Saudi Arabian princesses allegedly being held against their will in a royal compound, officials confirmed Wednesday. The allegations were submitted to the U.N. human rights office, claiming that several daughters of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had been held against their will for the past 13 years in the royal compound in Jeddah. .(AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool, File)
In this Sunday, Dec 29, 2013 photo, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, speaks during a meeting at the Saudi Royal palace, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Increasingly vocal in its frustration over United States policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year. (AP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard, Pool)
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GENEVA (AP) - The United Nations has received pleas to help free several Saudi Arabian princesses allegedly being held against their will in a royal compound, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Allegations submitted to the U.N. human rights office claim that several daughters of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia have been held for the past 13 years in the royal compound in Jeddah.

In a rare disclosure about allegations received by not yet investigated, the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed receipt of the emailed complaints but said it could be several months at least before anything is officially published about the case.

The office did not say whether it considered the complaints substantial enough to warrant a follow-up investigation. Xabier Celaya of the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights told The Associated Press that U.N. officials are "not in a position to confirm if any action has been taken on this case."

She said Wednesday that the claims were brought to the attention of the U.N. special investigator on violence against women, who along with investigators on other issues receives complaints from around the world and must determine which ones merit a closer look. There was no immediate reaction from the Saudi U.N. mission in Geneva.

The case stems from an email sent to the United Nations and The Sunday Times of London, which published a story saying two daughters of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia - Princesses Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38 - had appealed for help claiming they and their sisters have been held for 13 years in the royal compound.

The newspaper said that their mother, Alanoud Alfayez, who lives in London and is divorced from the king, also contacted the United Nations seeking help with the case.
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