A British woman has been held in a cage in Saudi Arabia by her father, who controls nearly every aspect of her life, a court was told this week.
Swansea-born Amina Al-Jeffery, a 21-year-old dual British-Saudi citizen, was taken from her home in Wales by her father Mohammed Al-Jeffery, 62, four years ago, the court heard. Her father reportedly disapproved of her behaviour when she lived in the UK.
The High Court was told she is now being held against her will at her father’s home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, The Times reported.
Ms Jeffery is kept caged when her father leaves home, suffers physical abuse and is not properly fed, the court was told. She is also not free to marry whoever she wants.
“Steps need to be taken to ensure Ms Jeffery is returned to the UK where her safety can be guaranteed,” the Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit said.
It added that Ms Jeffery’s British citizenship was not recognised by the Saudi authorities. Mr Jeffery is said to have ignored orders to take his daughter to the British consulate in Jeddah earlier this week.
Henry Setright, Mr Jeffery’s lawyer, said the father believed Ms Jeffery was “someone he has a duty to control, including her freedom of movement”.
Mr Jeffery disapproved of Ms Jeffery’s “relationships and conduct,” Mr Setright said.
But Anne-Marie Hutchinson, from the Academy of Family Lawyers, acting for Ms Jeffery, said: “She is a normal Welsh girl and still has her Welsh accent.
“She wants to return home so she can have control of her own life and make her own choices.”