Saturday, 30 July 2016
Father who kept British daughter ‘in cage’ in Saudi loses legal bid to restrict media
An academic accused of imprisoning his 21-year-old daughter in Saudi Arabia, has failed to limit reporting of the case following a UK High Court ruling.
Amina Al-Jeffery was taken from her home in Wales four years ago and kept in a “cage” at her father’s dwelling in Jeddah, according to the Independent.
Mohammed Al-Jeffery is believed to have locked his daughter up because she “kissed a guy.”
Since then, lawyers representing the young woman who has dual British-Saudi citizenship have taken legal action in London in a bid to free her by asking Mr Justice Holman of the High Court to help.
While the hearing ended on Thursday, the judge analysed the case in the Family Division of the High Court in London and lawyers will file final documentation on Monday before the ruling on Wednesday.
Mr Justice Holman said he had reason to be concerned over Miss Al-Jeffery’s welfare along with rejecting an application from her father for a gag order over what journalists could report on the case.
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“I happen to think that the case raises issues that require to be ventilated in public,” the judge said. “This is not just tittle-tattle stuff. There are very serious issues here. I dare say the publicity is extremely disagreeable to the father.”
He added that there is a “degree of admission” from Mohammed Al-Jeffery, who admitted to locking his daughter in his apartment when he wasn’t there and having “steel latticework” over the windows to prevent his daughter from shouting out.
The judge also heard how Miss Al-Jeffery was arrested for kissing and hugging an American student on a university campus in Saudi Arabia.
Barrister Marcus Scott-Manderson QC, who is representing Mohammed Al-Jeffery, said the father strongly disapproved of the way she conducted herself and had said he would not “allow Amina to go back to a toxic lifestyle.”
Holman said Miss Al-Jeffery could be expressing a preference to the more “liberal lifestyle” of the UK.
“Her father is enforcing his point of view by locking her up,” he said. “The central issue for me is, is she able to appeal to this country of which she is a citizen and say ‘Help me?’”
Women and girls are seen as inferior to men in Saudi and have little rights in relation to family matters, violence and sexual violence, according to human rights group Amnesty International.