Free Princess Basmah, Stop Saudi Arabia!

It’s been over a year now since the absolute-ruler-in-cruelty Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) placed his own cousin, Princess Basmah bint Saud, in prison. Her crime? Advocating for women’s rights and reforms in Saudi Arabia. Tell the U.S. Department of State to urge Saudi Arabia — a close ally and friend of the U.S. — to release the princess.

Dear U.S. Department of State,

We, the undersigned, call on you to use your influence and power to pressure Saudi Arabia to release Princess Basmah bint Saud and all imprisoned Saudi women’s rights activists.

Princess Basmah bint Saud, the cousin of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), was arrested in March 2019 shortly before she was scheduled to travel to Switzerland for medical treatment. She has remained in prison, with her daughter, ever since—despite her health deteriorating to a state where she struggles to get out of bed. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, her life is especially in danger.

On April 15, Princess Basmah bint Saud managed to gain access to her Twitter account. " I am currently being arbitrarily held at Al-Ha'ir prison without criminal, or otherwise any charges," she wrote. “I was abducted without explanation together with one of my daughters and thrown into prison,” she said, begging her cousin and his father, the king to release her. “My health is deteriorating to an extent that is [severe], and that could lead to my death. I have not received medical care or even [a] response to the letters I dispatched from jail to the Royal Court,” she pleaded.

By Friday, April 17, her Twitter thread plea had been mysteriously deleted.

Though we do not know specifically what Princess Basmah bint Saud has been accused of, we do know that while she was living in London, she was an outspoken advocate for human rights and the need for change in Saudi Arabia. In 2012 she advocated to the BBC for Saudi Arabia to develop a constitution, “that treats all men and women on an equal footing.” She criticized Saudi’s divorce laws and education system saying that the system, “has left our youth vulnerable to fundamentalist ideologies that have led to terrorism.”

Princess Basmah bint Saud is one of a number of Saudi women’s rights activists — including Saudi human rights defender Loujain al-Hathloul — who are currently languishing in prison for their human rights work. As the U.S. State Department, we call on you to use your influence to pressure Saudi Arabia to release Princess Basmah bint Saud, her daughter, Loujain al-Halthloul, and all imprisoned Saudi women’s rights activists.


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