RIYADH: A prominent Saudi princess jailed without charges has made a rare public appeal to the king and crown prince on Thursday for her release from a high-security prison.
Princess Basmah bint Saud, a 56-year-old businesswoman and an outspoken royal family member, was detained in March last year just before she was due to travel to Switzerland for medical treatment.
The public plea for her release is the latest sign of turmoil within the kingdom’s secretive royal family following the detention last month of King Salman’s brother and nephew in an apparent attempt to stamp out internal dissent.
“As you may be aware, I am currently being arbitrarily held at Al-Ha’ir prison without criminal, or otherwise any charges,” the princess wrote in a letter published on her verified Twitter account.
“My health is deteriorating to an extent that is (severe), and that could lead to my death. I have not received medical care or even a response to the letters I dispatched from jail to the Royal Court,” she added.
Saudi authorities have not disclosed the reasons for her detention. The princess claimed she was “thrown into prison” after being “abducted without an explanation” along with one of her daughters.
She appealed to her uncle King Salman and her cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for her release as she had “done no wrong” and added that her health status was “very critical”.
It was unclear how the princess was able to tweet from inside Al-Ha’ir, a high-security prison close to Riyadh known for holding political prisoners.
Her public plea represents an unusual move by someone from the kingdom’s royal family and comes after the detention last month of Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the king’s brother, and the monarch’s nephew Prince Mohammed bin Nayef who was previously crown prince.