Geneva – The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor condemned in a statement the Saudi Ministry of Interior’s decision to forcibly deport four Yemeni sisters to Yemen at the request of their father, despite filing a violence lawsuit against him.
The sisters, Hana Abd Al-Salam Taha Al-Attas, 31, Hajar Abdul-Salam Taha Al-Attas, 21, Sarah Abdel-Salam Taha Al-Attas, 22, and Hoda Abd al-Salam Taha al-Attas, 30 sent a telegram message containing a complaint to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asking him to protect them from their father’s violence, who abuses them, does not provide for them, and deprives them of their right to get married. This complaint was later transferred to the Al-Nuzha Police in the city of Jeddah, and was ignored without explanation. This promoted the sisters to submit a complaint to the Public Prosecution, which in turn conducted two interrogation sessions with them to hear their statements. However, the sister never heard any response from the Public Prosecution again.
The sisters’ mother, Janiah Ahmed Fadl El-Sayed, filed a complaint with the Al-Nuzha Police saying that her daughters were “disobedient to their parents” (although it became clear later that the mother had submitted the complaint under pressure and threats from the father). They were placed in the detention department of the Al-Nuzha Police for several hours.
The daughters were later transferred to Dhahban Criminal Prison in the city of Jeddah, where they stayed for seven days, to be transferred later to the Dar Al-Himayah (House of Protection), based on a letter issued by the region’s governor. While they were detained in the Protection House, the father submitted a request to deport them along with their mother to Yemen.
Euro-Med Monitor obtained a copy of a complaint, dated 17 March 2020, filed by the mother, Mrs. Janet Al-Sayed, in which she asks the Passports Director of Makkah Al-Mukarramah region to transfer her and her daughters’ sponsorship to her brother. She indicates in the complaint that placing the sisters in Dar Al-Himayah was due to their father's abuse under the pretext of disobedience. She added that the father threatened to torture them upon their arrival in Yemen.
While they were at Dar Al-Himayah, they tried to file a case in the court demanding alimony, but the court rejected the case because there was an executive order to deport them outside the country. They demanded accommodation, but the request was rejected because of their presence in the protection home. They filed a lawsuit to get married, against their father’s will who refuses to allow them to do so. However, the lawsuit was rejected under the pretext that there is no husband at the present time.
According to information obtained by Euro-Med Monitor, the sisters were detained for about a year and seven months in Dar Al-Himayah. Although they obtained a court decision to reunite them with their mother, their detention hindered their movement and thus they were unable to benefit from the decision.
According to the information available, the sisters are currently being held in the shelter center in Al-Shumaisi, which is a prison where all foreigners pending deportation wait, including criminals. Their hands are tied in preparation for their deportation.
As part of their attempts to cancel the deportation decision, the girls obtained a paper "Proof of Support and Social Status" from the Yemeni Consulate in Jeddah (Euro-Med Monitor has a copy of it) stating that their brother, Hashem Abdel Salam Taha Al-Attas, is the breadwinner and responsible for them, but that statement has not changed a thing in reality, and procedures of their deportation to Yemen continued.
last Sunday, September 6, 2020, the Yemeni Consulate in Jeddah addressed the shelter center to stop the deportation of the sisters, for it poses a threat to their lives, and due to the existence of a pending lawsuit before a court. But, once again, this letter was ignored.
The forcible deportation of the four Yemeni sisters is an assault on their basic rights to litigation and residency with their families, given the dangers they may face upon their arrival in Yemen, especially as they have received previous threats of torture from their father.
The Saudi authorities should immediately cancel the deportation decision, and work to empower females to have their right to fair litigation, especially since many girls may face the same fate from their abusive fathers. The Yemeni authorities should follow up on the issue, and ensure that they are fully protected (if they were deported), and to move quickly and effectively to prevent their abusive father from carrying out his threats against the four sisters.