Father of Saudi sisters found dead rejects suicide scenario

RIYADH (Reuters) - The father of two young Saudi women whose bodies were found bound together in New York last October has dismissed a police assessment that they committed suicide and said marks he saw on their faces indicate they were beaten before their deaths.

Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 23, who had previously been living in Virginia, were found along the rocky Manhattan shore of the Hudson River with duct tape around their waist and ankles. A New York Police Department official has said they likely entered the water alive and were said to have preferred suicide over returning to Saudi Arabia.

Their mother told detectives the day before the bodies were discovered that the Saudi Embassy in Washington had ordered the family to leave the United States because the daughters had applied for political asylum, the Associated Press reported in October, citing police. An embassy spokeswoman denied that at the time.

Saudi Arabia's rights record has come under intense scrutiny after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate last year and the flight to Thailand of an 18-year-old woman who alleged abuse by her family, which they denied.

Saudi news site Sabq published an interview on Monday with the women's father, who was not named, denying police claims that they had been subjected to physical abuse, and accusing a Virginia investigator of abducting the women and blocking him from retrieving them.

"He told us that he had withdrawn the report and placed the girls in a safe place," Sabq quoted the father as saying.

"We tried to communicated later with this investigator but he refused to respond. He asked us to go to the court on the grounds that the case had been transferred there, but when we went, we did not find any trace of the case," the father added.

He said when he viewed his daughters' bodies at the morgue before taking them back to Saudi Arabia, "we found bruises filling both their faces... especially the younger one, which confirms they were heavily beaten before they died."

The New York City medical examiner's office, Fairfax, Va. police, and the Saudi Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Parts of Niagara Falls freeze over in stunning spectacle
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Parts of Niagara Falls freeze over in stunning spectacle
And her frigid heart Unleashes furry in flurries All the while Playing the victim Like she never hurt a thing But at her command Cities are buried In layers of cold And everyone is trapped With no way to go Anywhere
The sun came out for only 15 minutes. Just to make this experience even more memorable I guess. I froze my butt off with -25 Celcius 🥶 #winter #waterfalls #cold #unforgettable #canada🍁 #businesstrip #bookingcom
Amazing ❄️ • Niagara Falls, 21/1/2019. 18.5 years after my first visit. That first day was probably about 20*C, yesterday felt like -35*C. • #niagara #niagarafalls #niagarafallscanada #niagarafallsfrozen #frozen #frozenniagarafalls #frozenniagara #niagarafalls2019 #canada #toronto #holidays #sun #snow #niagara_falls #insta_nature #nature #naturephotography #beautiful #winter #winterwonderland #niagarafallsfrozen #arendelle
I personally believe that Niagara Falls is the most beautiful during the winter time. Everything is completely frozen. Oh and I’m heading back to Iceland to chase the northern lights in less than 2 weeks with @bretblakelyphotography and @djanker!! . . . . . . . . #modernoutdoors #eclectic_shotz #adventurethatislife #niagarafalls #hashtagstepoutbuffalo #travelbuf #onebuffalo #buffalo #buffalony #earth_shotz #eclectic_shotz #wayfarecollective #modernoutdoors #exploretocreate #welivetoexplore #iloveny #nystateparks #canada #tourcanada #parkscanada #folkgreen #folkscenery #wildernesstones #goneoutdoors #thevisualcollective #scenicny
A slice of heaven on earth. 👌 Niagara Falls #Ontario 💙 ⬇ PHOTO OF THE DAY🌟Jan🌟17🌟2019📷 _____________________________________________ 🔘 Location: #niagarafalls #niagaraparks ⭐ Photos credit by🏆@rcavalleri🏆 ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ⓒ ⓞ ⓝ ⓖ ⓡ ⓐ ⓣ ⓤ ⓛ ⓐ ⓣ ⓘ ⓞ ⓝ ⓢ follow @livelovecanada Tag #livelovecanada . 🔝 #breathtaking #falls #discoveron #banff #explorebc #explorecanada #canada #montreal #quebec #edmonton #ottawa #calgary #novascotia #6ix #mississauga #winnipeg #usa #saskatchewan #yukon #pei #yyc #beautifuldestinations #nyc #streetsoftoronto #britishcolumbia #alberta
Freezing temperatures over the weekend have coated the area surrounding the Horseshoe Falls in a thick layer of ice, once again transforming Queen Victoria Park into a spectacular winter wonderland! ❄️ #NiagaraParks
A beautiful but frozen #NiagaraFalls is still attracting visitors who want to marvel at the ice. #AlwaysBeautiful #FrozenFalls #StayWarm (📷 Mike Arena)
A brutal winter storm not only dumped snow in the Northeast and sent temperatures plunging, it froze one of North America's top tourist spots. . . . . . . . #paradisestay #niagrafalls #niagarafalls #waterfall #waterfalls #ontario #chasingessence #choosemountains #discoverglobe #exploreourearth #forgeyourownpath #beautifuldestinations #bucketlist #createexplore #earthfocus #exploreeverything #exploremore #exploretocreate #fiftyshades_of_nature #travellifestyle #travelingram #travellingram #travelingpost #travellerslife #globetrotter #wanderers #regrann
WOW - Stunning pictures capture a partially frozen Niagara Falls in Ontario. See NA-80MO https://t.co/Pf825NuWDi
Video: Part of Niagara Falls frozen after extremely colds temps hit Northeast https://t.co/tDujnqGI2A https://t.co/UXRCzKcIwR
Good morning from #NiagaraFalls stay warm today🥶🥶 https://t.co/RBJgaLGZJN
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