New Delhi: The niece of Saudi Arabia ruler, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Sara bint Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sought political asylum in United Kingdom as she fears for her safety in her home in Saudi Arabia.
The princess claims that she is being persecuted by the members of her own family and her image is being blemished with claims that she has sided with Saudi Arabia's political opponent.
The 38-year-old also said that she was assaulted and threatened, and that there have been abduction attempts made against her children, all for political reasons.
Princess Sara moved to UK in 2007, after falling out with her 80-year-old father. Presently, she is staying in a five-star hotel along with her four children and two dogs. She is seeking asylum as her and her children’s leave to stay in UK has expired.
UK ministers will have to assess her claims and decide whether to offer her asylum, thereby defying Saudi officials who want her to return to her native country.
She has also been locked in a long-running inheritance battle with her brother, Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, over their dead mother’s £325 million fortune.
She said: 'So, with deep regret, and as I have been left with no other choice, I have written to the UK Home Office to indicate that I, and my children, wish to be granted political asylum.
'My reputation has been besmirched in the media by a baseless and malicious smear campaign.
'For years I have endured all this in silence, while trying to resolve my situation with dignity through the normal channels, without fanfare or publicity.
'But my pleas to the Saudi authorities in the Kingdom have been obstructed and denied, and the Saudi embassy in London has turned its back on me.'
Princess Sara went on to say that she has 'nothing but respect for my uncle King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the people of Saudi Arabia'.
'All I have ever sought is my legitimate rights, so that my children and I can resume our lives with dignity and I can resume my civil society and development work.'
Princess Sara told the a leading daily about the incident which saw her fall out with her father 'shook her world', but would not reveal more details about it.
Describing their relationship, she said: 'Everything goes back to a certain aspect that I don’t discuss in public. Something happened with my father and he didn’t take it lightly.
'He retaliated against me and wanted to crush me. I had been his closest; I had been his favourite.'
The Saudi embassy diplomat said, 'The embassy has been involved in settling her visa issue and residency issue in the UK. We have tried to settle this issue.
'This matter is of a personal nature so there is only so much the government can do. It’s not a political matter.'
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