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Saudi sisters fleeing country via SL stopped in Hong Kong

21 February 2019 09:49 pm - 22     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Two young Saudi sisters in Hong Kong had said on Thursday they had been intercepted by Saudi officials at the city's airport while attempting to escape to Australia, the Straits Times reported.

Quoting the AFP, the Straits Times said the two sisters who have adopted the aliases Reem and Rawan, said in a statement from their lawyer that they had renounced Islam and fear the death penalty if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

The sisters aged 20 and 18, whose representatives say they suffered violent abuse, fled to Hong Kong in September from a family holiday in Sri Lanka and were planning to fly on to Australia.

But they say they were obstructed by Saudi officials and have been living in hiding in the Chinese city for nearly six months since.

"We fled our home to ensure our safety. We hope that we can be given asylum in a country which recognises women's rights and treats them as equals," the pair said in the statement shared by prominent lawyer Michael Vidler.

The case has emerged a month after 18-year-old Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun drew global attention with her dramatic escape from an allegedly abusive family, gaining refugee status in Canada last month.

Justice Centre Hong Kong, a migrants' rights group aiding Reem and Rawan, said the sisters had also fled "gender-based violence".

According to the lawyer's statement, they were intercepted during their stopover by unknown men who took their passports and "attempted to deceive the sisters" into boarding a flight back to Saudi Arabia.

They later learned one of the men was Saudi Arabia's consul general in Hong Kong, and that their onward flight booking had been cancelled, it added.

The Saudi consulate in Hong Kong had not responded to requests for comment.

After failing to board a second flight and fearing they were about to be "forcibly abducted", the sisters say they left Hong Kong airport to enter the city as visitors.

They have been forced to change locations 13 times for fear of their safety, their statement said, after police reportedly tried to take them to meet with male relatives and Saudi officials.

"We dream of being in a safe place where we can be normal young women, free from violence and oppression," the sisters said.

They tweeted Thursday, using the account @hksisters6, to say their passports had been invalidated and they feared being forced to go to the Saudi consulate in Hong Kong.

"We do not want to face the same fate as Mr Jamal Khashoggi," they wrote, referring to the prominent journalist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who was murdered at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

Hong Kong police has told AFP the case is under investigation and confirmed they received a missing person report and a separate report made by "two expatriate women" in September.

Hong Kong's Airport Authority had declined to comment.

  Comments - 22

  • Ram Perera Friday, 22 February 2019 01:48 AM

    I have heard that this is a ruse adopted by Saudi girls to go to Australia. Recently a similar case has been reported in Australia

    das Friday, 22 February 2019 09:43 AM

    Saudi Arabia is a rich country, unlike Sri Lanka. So the reasons that make people leave for Australia are not wealth but possibly for freedom and independence.

    Jaffna Logic Friday, 22 February 2019 03:55 AM

    What ever billions the Saudi Arabians have it never came by their brain power but from under the desert sand. They have not at all changed from their desert mindset, young Saudi girls fleeing to other countries to escape the harassment and abuse proves the barbarity of the country.

    Ex Muslim Friday, 22 February 2019 05:12 AM

    Lets hope everyone leaves the religion of terror and abuse.

    Muslim Forever Friday, 22 February 2019 09:34 AM

    There is no religion in the world which approves terror and abuse. But people desire terror and abuse and then justify it as if its religion.

    Mukbilsinan Friday, 22 February 2019 10:03 AM

    Every month thousands of people embrace the religion all over the world

    kumar Friday, 22 February 2019 01:56 PM

    Yes! that is the reality...

    Jaliya B. Friday, 22 February 2019 07:30 AM

    This appear to be the new developing trend. The younger generation of female gender have finally recognized that Islam is not a religion but its the belief of extremism, unequal rights, isolation and violence. We wish them good luck in their journey to personnel and political freedom !!

    abc Friday, 22 February 2019 09:45 AM

    I think the entire world is realising that insane and oppressive ideologies have no place in modern society. Tolerance for such things will continue to diminish

    REEZ Friday, 22 February 2019 01:55 PM

    Your understanding of Islam is weak and you have no knowledge of the religion. Open your eyes and see how many westerners converting to Islam at the moment. You can't judge Islam by the behaviors of Muslims. You can't make comparison Islam with Muslim countries and its rulers. They are not implementing what Islam told to do. I was in Saudi Arabia. I noticed that the teaching of Islam is not practiced in that country properly. They are not showing compassion to people as said. I must mention there are good Muslims with Islamic qualities. But the majority are harsh and rude. This is not because of Islam. This is because of their personal attitude. Therefore, I kindly request you not to insult Islam. type "countries with Islamic values in Google" you will surprised to see what countries are at the forefront .

    Nijam Friday, 22 February 2019 02:01 PM

    Islam is fastest growing religion in the world.. if the people made mistakes religion have nothing to do with it...

    Truth Friday, 22 February 2019 06:07 PM

    But when one low IQ leaves a hundred high IQs join Islam, when they find out only Islam has the answer to the purpose life, and has the best explanation of life after death.

    Sarah Friday, 22 February 2019 10:33 AM

    No more they bow their heads to male domination In this 21st century, but the country run by brutes, can give them injection ,cut them to pieces and then take them home

    Raj Friday, 22 February 2019 11:28 AM

    Please do not send them into a Saudi embassy! Even the body will disappear!

    Rish Friday, 22 February 2019 11:45 AM

    One or two leave due to personal reasons but accepted by 1000 daily including west............fastest growing religion in the world in 2018 ( US-based Pew Research Center)

    kumar Friday, 22 February 2019 01:54 PM

    Saudis will do anything using their money. Sad to see how corrupt these Hong kong Officials are, not second to Sri Lankans.

    Mushi Friday, 22 February 2019 03:12 PM

    Why only saudi girls? why not Iran/Iraq and other muslim country girls not flee which also follow sharia law. This is only a tactic to bully the officials and seek asylum in a short cut. Pathetic, they are desperate to renounce even Islam/Parents/siblings to live in countries such as Australia/US/Canada/UK where in contrary, foreigners embrace Islam.

    Channa Friday, 22 February 2019 03:37 PM

    At least they didn't kill those two sisters as they did it Egypt . Suadis are uneducated bastards

    kumar Friday, 22 February 2019 06:43 PM

    Haven't you read newspapers? Iran/Iraqi women are seeking asylum all over the world. It is a normal thing. I don't think Saudi women are fabricating stories to claim asylum. They don't need to do. Fanatic like you are just whitewashing the cruelty of the Sharia Law.

    Mushi Friday, 22 February 2019 07:59 PM

    @Kumar, In Iraq/Iran/Syria/Palestine/Lebonan/Yemen/Afganistan etc. people were affected by civil war or sectarian violence which is the basis for asylum like SL in the past but not the sharia law. In Saudi, no war and sharia law is not a violence but a religious philosophy. Hope, you got it.

    hello Saturday, 23 February 2019 10:07 PM

    Seems to be even Saudi girls don't want to wear the costume, like a black garbage bag,from top to bottom

    Sarah Sunday, 24 February 2019 10:01 PM

    All Muslim women should work toward to achieve religious freedom,now they consider as sex toys of men, and equipment to manufacture children

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