Saudi Arabian princess seeks asylum in Britain over illegitimate child
A Saudi Arabian princess who had an illegitimate child with a British man has successfully sought asylum in Britain after claiming she would face the death penalty if she went home.
By Aislinn Simpson
Published: 10:26AM BST 20 Jul 2009
The woman, who has been granted anonymity, is married to an elderly member of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia and met her non-Muslim English boyfriend during a visit to London.
She became pregnant the following year and persuaded her husband to let her return to the UK so she could give birth in secret.
She has now become one of a handful of Saudi citizens to apply to the UK courts for asylum. Such cases are not generally acknowledged by the British government for fear that highlighting the persecution of women in the strict Muslim nation would strain relations with the House of Saud.
The woman told the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal that she could be liable to death by stoning under Sharia law if she returned, or face an honour killing.
Since she fled her home country, her husband's family and her own, independently wealthy family, have broken off contact with her.
The Home Office has declined to discuss the case, which was first reported in The Independent. The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia also failed to comment in time for the paper's deadline.
But it serves as further evidence that the Gulf state of Saudi Arabia, which is home to around 30,000 Britons, is still lagging behind in its approach to human rights.
According to Amnesty International, there were at least 102 executions of men and women by stonings, floggings, beheadings and hangings last year and the charity claims there are at least 136 more people on death row.
Last week, the kingdom's religious police were blamed for the shooting dead of two sisters by their brother in Riyadh in what was deemed to be an "honour killing".
The sisters, who were 19 and 21, had been arrested by the police for allegedly mixing with men to whom they were not related, a move which according to The Society for Defending Women's Rights, prompted the killing.
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