19 April 2017

Welsh schoolgirl taken to Saudi against her will had warned school, charity says

A Welsh schoolgirl who was taken to Saudi Arabia against her will and allegedly held as a prisoner by her father was failed by the authorities, it has been claimed, after she raised the alarm with her school months before she was taken away.

Amina al-Jeffery spoke to school staff about her fears early in 2012, and had made a similar appeal at her previous school in 2011, according to the Henna Foundation, a charity that says it was consulted on the case. But there was no intervention by the authorities before she was taken to Saudi Arabia in April 2012.

The charity also says police in Swansea were warned that Jeffery was at risk of being forcibly taken to Jeddah but failed to follow advice to apply for a protection order that would have kept her safe. The police say they received no such warning.

Last year a British court ordered that Mohammed al-Jeffery must “permit and facilitate” his daughter’s return to the UK after he removed her from school on account of her “un-Islamic” behaviour and took her out of the country. He refused to comply with the order.

His daughter, who has dual British-Saudi nationality and is now 21, sent emails to her lawyer in December 2015 alleging her father beat her, put bars on her bedroom door and denied her access to the bathroom, forcing her to urinate in a cup, because she had “kissed a guy”. [The Guardian] Read more