• Wednesday, Nov 25, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:05 am

Runaway Saudi sisters leave Georgia to start new life

  • Published at 09:17 pm May 8th, 2019
Saudi sisters
In a short video posted to Twitter, the sisters thank their supporters and wave what appear to be Georgian passports Twitter

Maha, 28, and Wafa al-Subaie, 25, started an online campaign to find a safe haven in April after arriving in Georgia to escape relatives they said abused them

Two runaway Saudi sisters who won global attention for fleeing to Georgia and pleading online for protection said on Tuesday they were preparing to start new lives in a country where their family could not find them.

Maha, 28, and Wafa al-Subaie, 25, started an online campaign to find a safe haven in April after arriving in Georgia to escape relatives they said abused them, in the latest case to highlight Saudi Arabia's strict social control over women.

"We are thrilled to announce that we are leaving Georgia," the young women wrote on Tuesday from their Twitter account, posting a short video of them at the airport.

The sisters applied for asylum in Georgia in April, but said they feared their family could come to the former Soviet republic, which does not require visas, and force them back.

Georgia's interior ministry said the sisters decided to travel to another country while their asylum application was pending.

"Any asylum seeker is free to travel upon his/her decision and willingness," a ministry spokeswoman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email.

The sisters tweeted earlier that they wanted their destination to remain secret "for a little while" and thanked all those had who supported them.

"As we settle in our new home and life we will continue to support Saudi women. We will continue our fight against guardian abuse. Many Saudi women supported us and we will never forget it," they wrote.

The United Nations refugee agency in Georgia, which had been following their application process, said it would not comment on individual cases.

Saudi women must have permission from a male relative to work, marry and travel under the Islamic kingdom's guardianship system, which human rights groups say can trap women and girls in abusive families.

The sisters are the third group of young Saudi women this year to attract global attention for seeking refuge outside their homeland.

A teenage girl won asylum in Canada when she holed up in a Thai airport hotel in January to escape her family. Two other Saudi sisters who hid in Hong Kong for six months were granted visas in March to travel to a third country.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has introduced reforms, such as lifting a ban on women driving, and indicated last year that he favoured ending the guardianship system. But he has stopped short of backing its annulment. Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East consultant for women's rights group Equality Now, said it was good the sisters had finally found a country where they could live freely.

But she warned more would follow unless Saudi Arabia changed.

"As long as Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system remains in place, there will continue to be women and girls who take huge risks to flee a country that denies them basic human rights and freedoms," she said.

60
57
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail