No charge levelled during detention

Saudi authorities have released a princess and her daughter who had been held without charge for nearly three years in the capital, a human rights group said on Saturday.

Basma bint Saud, 57, a royal family member long seen as a proponent of women’s rights and a constitutional monarchy, has been detained since March 2019, and in April 2020 implored King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to release her on health grounds.

“Basma bint Saud Al Saud and her daughter Suhoud… have been released,” the ALQST for Human Rights said on Twitter.

“She was denied the medical care she needed for a potentially life threatening condition,” the rights group added. “At no point during her detention has any charge been levelled against her.”

Princess Basmah was arrested shortly before a planned trip to Switzerland for medical treatment, according to a source close to the family.

The nature of her illness has never been disclosed.

Prince Mohammed has overseen a reform drive since he was appointed by his father King Salman in June 2017 at the expense of the previous designated heir to the throne, Mohammed bin Nayef.

Reforms have included lifting a decades-long ban on women driving and the easing of so-called “guardianship” rules that give men arbitrary authority over female relatives.

But Saudi authorities have also cracked down on dissidents and even potential opponents, ranging from preachers to women’s rights activists, even royals.

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