Though they are the daughters of royalty, even princesses cannot escape the plight of women in Saudi Arabia. Despite the United States frequently citing abuses of women’s rights to justify its military incursions, Saudi Arabia remains a key U.S. ally in the region, and one of the world’s most notorious women’s rights abusers. Once hailed for their bravery in speaking out through social media, the whereabouts of these princesses seem to be unknown.
Hala, Jawaher, Maha and Sahar, born to the late Saudi King Abdullah and his ex-wife, Alanoud Al-Fayez, spent over a decade in varying degrees of captivity, according to their mother. According to Al-Fayez, the princesses were imprisoned for their modern upbringing and outspoken views on the rights of women.
Sahar and Jawaher, both held in the same royal compound, made headlines last year for speaking out via social media, even after the House of Saud punished them by restricting their access to food and water. The pair gave several video interviews to the media, and each maintained a Twitter account. Sahar even pledged support for condemned political prisoner Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr in an openly revolutionary media statement last April. Their mother also maintained two Twitter accounts, one for herself and another, @FreeThe4, to raise awareness of her daughters’ imprisonment.