Welsh schoolgirl ‘kept in a cage by her father for four years in Saudi Arabia after he accused her of un-Islamic behaviour’
- Amina Al-Jeffery allegedly kept prisoner in a cage by father for four years
- Said to have been held there after being accused of un-Islamic behaviour
- Miss Al-Jeffery born in Swansea but taken to Saudi Arabia at the age of 16
- Her father did not agree with her western lifestyle the High Court was told
A Welsh schoolgirl has been kept prisoner in a cage by her own father for more than four years after she was accused of un-Islamic behaviour, a court heard yesterday.
Amina Al-Jeffery was born in Swansea but then taken to Saudi Arabia, aged 16, because her father, an academic, did not agree with her western lifestyle.
She has since been held as a prisoner at her father’s home in Jeddah, the family division of the High Court was told yesterday.
The forced marriage unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that the Saudi authorities would not recognise Miss Al-Jeffery’s British citizenship and ‘steps need to be taken to ensure Amina is returned to the UK where her safety can be guaranteed’.
Mohammed Al-Jeffery, her father, 62, works at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah and received state funding from the Saudi government in order to object to the High Court’s order to return his daughter to Britain.
A father of nine, Mr Al-Jeffery had moved to Swansea before Amina was born. The family claimed benefits and his children were educated at British schools and universities.
Henry Setright, QC, representing Miss Al-Jeffery, said that her father had taken her to Saudi Arabia because he disapproved of her ‘relationships and conduct’.
Miss Al-Jeffery, now 21, is kept in a cage when her father leaves the family home, is physically abused, deprived of food and water and not allowed to marry the man of her choice, the court was told.
Mr Setright said her father believed that his daughter was ‘someone he has a duty to control, including her freedom of movement’.
Mr Al-Jeffery had been ordered by the High Court to take his daughter to the British consulate in Jeddah on Monday so she could have a confidential discussion with her lawyers, but he refused to do this and until he received a guarantee from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that his daughter would not be granted ‘sanctuary’.
Hearing: Miss Al-Jeffery has since been held as a prisoner at her father’s home in Jeddah, the family division of the High Court in London (pictured) was told yesterday.
Miss Al-Jeffery had been allowed to attend an earlier meeting with consular staff at a hotel under the supervision of someone employed by her father.
She managed to slip a note under the table to a member of embassy staff expressing fears about her future, the court was told.
Marcus Scott-Manderson, QC, representing Mr Al-Jeffery said he ‘could not bring himself’ to obey the court’s order to attend the consulate.
Anne-Marie Hutchinson, a British lawyer, said that she had spoken to Miss Al-Jeffery when she briefly escaped from her father’s home.
Ms Hutchinson, a member of the international Academy of Family Lawyers, said: ‘She is a normal Welsh girl and still has her Welsh accent.
‘She wants to return home so she can have control of her own life and make her own choices.’
Mr Justice Holman said that the jurisdiction of the British courts was not clear because Miss Al-Jeffery was now an adult with dual Saudi and UK citizenship.
He said: ‘We have to be careful about asserting the supremacy our cultural standards.’
The hearing continues.