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Saudi sisters trapped in Hong Kong fear for their lives

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:53s - Published < > Embed
Saudi sisters trapped in Hong Kong fear for their lives

Saudi sisters trapped in Hong Kong fear for their lives

Two sisters from Saudi Arabia who fled the conservative kingdom and have been hiding out in Hong Kong for nearly six months said they did so to escape beatings at the hands of their brothers and father.

Emily Wither reports.

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Saudi sisters trapped in Hong Kong fear for their lives

It's becoming an increasingly familiar story.

These sisters have fled from Saudi Arabia.

They've been hiding out in Hong Kong for nearly six months.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) 20-YEAR-OLD SAUDI WOMAN "REEM" (ALIAS), SAYING: "We fled September, 2018.

We were escaping from the violence and repression from our own family, and the Saudi government." The pair claim they were being beaten at the hands of their brothers and father.

Under the kingdom's strict guardianship law those male relatives would also have had control over many aspects of their lives, including travel abroad.

They say they were prevented from boarding a connecting flight to Australia and were intercepted at the airport by diplomats from Saudi Arabia.

Reuters could not independently verify their story - and the Saudi consulate would not respond to requests for comment.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) 18-YEAR-OLD SAUDI WOMAN "RAWAN" (ALIAS), SAYING: "I (am) afraid that I will be kidnapped again from the Saudi consulate, and they already tried once, and I believe that they are looking for us right now, and, because they, the fact that they invalidated the passport." The sisters, who go by the names Rawan and Reem, have had their passports revoked.

Their lawyer says they're waiting for news on an asylum request in a third country.

As it stands Hong Kong immigration has told the girls they can only say in the city until Thursday (February 28).

The plight of Saudi women in the conservative kingdom was thrust again in to the spotlight last month, when Saudi teen Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun was granted asylum in Canada.

She barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her family.

Human rights groups say not all women who escape are successful and they attempt to flee at huge personal risk.




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