Michael Vidler urges criminal inquiry into Saudi sisters' case, Saudi consulate silent

Local | 22 Feb 2019 7:05 pm

The fate of two Saudi sisters said to be in hiding in Hong Kong remains unclear as the kingdom's consulate remained silent today about the duo's claims that consulate officials tried to kidnap them to stop them from fleeing an abusive family.

The consulate dd not reply to repeated calls from RTHK.

The girls, aged 18 and 20, say Saudi officials based in Hong Kong attempted to kidnap them at the airport nearly six months ago, and they've been forced to constantly be on the move ever since.

The women, who say they have renounced Islam and fear being killed if they're returned to Saudi Arabia, say they cannot reveal their names and identity because it will put them in further danger.

They were on a family holiday in Sri Lanka and were planning to travel to Australia on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong. They say they were stopped at the airport by consular officials from Saudi Arabia, who attempted to force them return to Riyadh.

Human rights lawyer Michael Vidler said he is very concerned about the sisters' safety, especially what happened to prominent Saudi critic Jamal Kashoggi, who was murdered inside the Istanbul consulate of the kingdom.

He also said the stress of living in fear and moving from safe house to safe house is taking its toll on the duo.

The lawyer said everything the women have said so far stacks up. He said they have corroborated evidence and video footage at the airport confirms that their version of events are correct.

The police are investigating the case, and Vidler said it should be looked at very seriously.

"Prima facie, a criminal offense has taken place. So there should be a proper criminal investigation. There are other people involved who would not have diplomatic immunity who should also be under investigation," he said.

"Hong Kong jurisdiction has been violated and therefore Hong Kong should be dealing with it and looking into this very, very seriously," the lawyer said.

Vidler said the women are committed to remain in Hong Kong until Thursday next week, and are hoping a third country will step in to offer them asylum before that date.-Photo: CNN

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