Briton ‘locked up’ in Saudi Arabian ‘cage’ needs RESCUING from her father and must be back in the UK by next month, High Court rules
- Amina Al-Jeffery, 21, ‘locked in a cage’ by her father in Saudi Arabia
- She was born and raised in Swansea but moved to Middle East aged 16
- Lawyers claim she has been stopped from leaving house for ‘kissing boy’
- Judge rules her father must allow her to return to UK by September 11
A 21-year-old Briton who says her controlling father imprisoned her in Saudi Arabia for ‘un-Islamic’ behaviour needs to be rescued, a High Court judge ruled today.
Amina Al-Jeffery – who grew up in Swansea – says her father, academic Mohammed Al-Jeffery, locks her up because she ‘kissed a guy’.
Mr Justice Holman, sitting in the Family Division of the High Court in London, has ruled she should be released and returned to the UK by September 11 because she is in ‘peril’ and ‘deprived of her liberty’.
Justice Holman also ordered her father to return her British and Saudi passports and pay her air fare home.
But he admitted that the authorities in Saudi Arabia could ignore the ruling because they do not recognise she has dual British and Saudi nationality.
He said Amina ‘does require protection and she is currently in a peril from which she requires rescue’, adding she is ‘disabled from functioning as an independent adult’.
Amina claims she was tortured, starved, kept in solitary confinement and prevented from going to the bathroom by father, who was also accused of strangling her.
Mr Al-Jeffery has claimed his daughter should not be allowed back to the UK, accusing her of taking drugs, cavorting with older men and also stealing from mother.
Making the ruling today the judge rejected her application for a forced marriage protection order saying there was no evidence of any plan by Mr Al-Jeffery to force his daughter into a marriage against her will.
It came days after Miss Al-Jeffery, 21, was photographed next to a ‘cage’ that she is allegedly locked up in at her father’s home in Saudi Arabia.
Plea: Friends said they have been trying to get human rights authorities to investigate Miss Al-Jeffery’s (pictured) case for ‘four or five years’.
Mr Justice Holman said he had concluded that Miss Al-Jeffery’s freedom of movement had been severely constrained although not literally ‘in a cage’.
Miss Al-Jeffery was born and raised in Swansea, Wales, before her father took her to the Middle East aged 16 because he disapproved of her ‘relationships and conduct’.
Her lawyer Henry Setright QC, told the High Court last week that her father believed she was ‘someone he has a duty to control, including her freedom of movement’.
The court heard the 21-year-old was arrested outside a Saudi university for kissing and hugging an American student who was later forced to leave the country.
She has since complained of being beaten, starved and locked in her father’s flat in the city of Jeddah – on the Red Sea coast, close to Mecca.
The court was told a ‘barrier or partition’ had been put up at the property, which Miss Al- Jeffery had likened to a ‘cage’.
Marcus Scott-Manderson QC, representing father-of-nine Mr Al-Jeffery, said the academic ‘could not bring himself’ to obey the court’s order to attend the consulate.
The lawyer also said that Mr Al-Jeffery disputed claims made against him.
In a letter written earlier this year, the father had said: ‘Regarding returning Amina back to the UK, I am unwilling to do this as I fear she will go back to her old destructive lifestyle.
‘As her father, I fear for her health and safety and only want what is best for Amina, so she may focus on her education.’
Miss Al-Jeffery, pictured in a school photo, was born and raised in Swansea until her father took her to the Middle East when she was 16.
But school friend Robyn Lewis – to whom Miss Al-Jeffery sent the image of herself in front of locked steel mesh doors – said she could, and should, have been protected and that her pleas for help were ignored.
Writing on Facebook, the estate agent from South Wales said: ‘For years I have been in and out of contact with Amina whilst she has been in Saudi, fully knowing what had been going on.
‘Every time I have spoken to her she had been begging for help.
‘Over the last 4/5 years I can’t stress enough how many times I have emailed/phoned local MPs, human rights charities and the British embassy in Saudi with no answers and nobody willing to help.’
Miss Lewis said South Wales Police was told her friend had been ‘taken against her will’. She added that Miss Al-Jeffery had discussed her fears with school staff.
She wrote: ‘Why wasn’t anything done sooner to protect her? … I think people are way too scared to get involved with cases like this involving Muslim families in case of being branded racist.
‘More needs to be done to protect young female British Muslims. If school staff and the police acted as they should have maybe this wouldn’t have happened’.