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‘Al-Khobar girl’ granted asylum in Sweden, says Saudi embassy

Last updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 8:34 AM


Saudi Gazette report


DAMMAM — A Saudi girl who allegedly embraced Christianity and fled the Kingdom last September has been granted asylum in Sweden, Al-Yaum newspaper reported on Tuesday quoting diplomatic sources.

According to Taher Khoja from the Saudi Embassy in Stockholm, Maryam, known in the local media by her nickname Al-Khobar girl, “enjoys full rights, protection and immunity as a refugee under the Swedish law.”

The girl had left the Kingdom using fake travel documents with the help of a Lebanese man and a Saudi colleague, who are both in prison awaiting trial.

“Swedish authorities refused to provide the embassy with any information about the girl or her whereabouts. All information has been shrouded in secrecy by the Sweden Immigration Agency and the Income Tax Authority,” Khoja said.

The embassy appointed a lawyer to ensure the girl’s welfare, he said.

The lawyer tried to obtain a court order for Swedish authorities to release information about the girl to the embassy but to no avail. The court upheld the decision of keeping information about the girl confidential.

The court told the Saudi embassy that the girl herself refused to have any form of contact with the embassy and requested that all information about her should be kept confidential, Khoja added.

The embassy contacted the Human Rights Commission in the Kingdom and provided it with all available information about the girl’s case, according to Khoja.

“We took all necessary legal measures to get information about the girl in line with the Swedish law, which considers illegally obtaining information about Sweden citizens and residents a breach of human rights,” he explained.

The Saudi embassy would welcome the girl’s family members if they wished to visit Sweden, Khoja said.

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