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Judge concerned over 'imprisoned' Saudi Arabia woman

Published 28/07/2016

Lawers are at the High Court over Amina Al-Jeffery, who dual British and Saudi Arabian nationality
Lawers are at the High Court over Amina Al-Jeffery, who dual British and Saudi Arabian nationality

A British High Court judge says there are reasons to be very concerned about the welfare of a 21-year-old woman who has complained of being imprisoned by her father in Saudi Arabia.

Amina Al-Jeffery - who grew up in Swansea and has dual British and Saudi Arabian nationality - says her father, academic Mohammed Al-Jeffery, locks her up because she ''kissed a guy''.

Lawyers representing Miss Al-Jeffery have taken legal action in London in a bid to protect her. They have asked Mr Justice Holman to look at ways of helping her.

The judge is analysing the case at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Mr Justice Holman described the case as very serious and said Mr Al-Jeffery, who is in his 60s, was not seeing the situation through the "right perspective".

The judge said it was possible that Miss Al-Jeffery was being manipulative but there was a "degree of admission" from her father.

He said Mr Al-Jeffery had admitted locking his daughter in his flat when he went out.

Mr Al-Jeffery also admitted previously having "steel latticework" over the windows so Miss Al-Jeffery could not shout out.

"I provisionally feel that we - this state, this court - need to feel very concerned about the welfare of this British citizen," the judge said.

"These things are said. There is a degree of admission by the father.

"To take an example, that he locks her in the flat when he goes out. That he formerly had this very elaborate steel latticework over the windows so that she could not shout out through the window."

The judge said Mr Al-Jeffery was also refusing to let his daughter go to the British Consulate in Jeddah.

He added: "Provisionally there is a lot of ground for concern about her."

Mr Justice Holman has been told that Miss Al-Jeffery left Swansea and moved to Saudi Arabia with her family four years ago.

The judge has heard that her mother and siblings are back in South Wales.

Neither Miss Al-Jeffery nor her father are at the High Court hearing.

Barristers Henry Setright QC and Michael Gration are representing Miss Al-Jeffery and outlining concerns.

Barrister Marcus Scott-Manderson QC is representing Mr Al-Jeffery.

Mr Scott-Manderson told Mr Justice Holman that Mr Al-Jeffery did not want to attend the hearing. "He doesn't want to discuss Amina's return," said Mr Scott-Manderson.

"He wants to help Amina. He says he brought her to Saudi Arabia to help her. The father says Amina was at risk in Britain. The father says the British Government did nothing to help her. This is not a criticism of the British people b ut he says Amina is reckless and cannot help herself."

Mr Scott-Manderson said Mr Al-Jeffery said it was "not true" that he had shaved his daughter's head.

"He does not accept the jurisdiction of the court to make orders against him," said Mr Scott-Manderson.

"As head of the family it was (his) decision to bring Amina to Saudi Arabia. (He) decided to do it because Amina was not focusing on school."

Mr Scott-Manderson added: "He says this onslaught (has been) brought against him and his family, not by the court, but by the statements, that he says were untrue, made by Amina."

Mr Justice Holman told the court: "He talks about an 'onslaught' brought against him and his family. He is not seeing this situation through the right perspective quite frankly."

He went on: "This is a very serious situation."

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