HONG KONG (AFP) – Two Saudi sisters trapped in Hong Kong say chronic physical abuse by male family members prompted them to flee the kingdom, where they now fear they will be forcibly returned. The siblings are the latest example of Saudi women plotting their escape from the ultra-conservative kingdom only to find themselves dodging officials and angry family members at every turn, as the country battles criticism of its human rights record. The young women, aged 20 and 18, found themselves marooned after Saudi consular officials allegedly intercepted them during a stopover at the city’s airport and later revoked their passports. The pair, who have adopted the aliases Reem and Rawan, described a deeply unhappy upbringing in a middle-class Riyadh household. They claim they were beaten by their father when they were young, and by their brothers when they got older, for small transgressions such as waking up late for prayer. “They started to beat me… my father didn’t really stop them. He thinks that this is what makes them men,” Ms Reem told AFP. Even their 10-year-old brother participated and began to police the way they dressed, they say, chiding them for removing their niqabs when dining out…. Read full this story
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