Amina Al-Jeffery: Father disputes 'locked up' daughter claim

Amina Al-Jeffery Image copyright Press Association

A father accused of imprisoning his daughter in Saudi Arabia said he was "trying to help" her, a court was told.

Mohammed Al-Jeffery says he took Amina Al-Jeffery, 21, from Swansea to Jeddah in 2012 to "save her life".

The dual British and Saudi Arabian national wants to return to the UK and claims she is being held against her will and denied food and water.

Her lawyers are asking the High Court in London to come to her aid. Her father disputes the allegations.

The case has concluded with judgement reserved until Wednesday.

Her father has claimed she had become "reckless", taking drugs in her teenage years and accused the British government of "doing nothing".

Representing Mr Al-Jeffery, Marcus Scott-Manderson QC told the judge, Mr Justice Holman: "The father says today he does not want to discuss Amina's return.

"He does not want to speak to m'lord. He says that is because [of] what he has seen in the media.

"He wants to help Amina... he says he brought her to Saudi Arabia to help her."

Image copyright John Allan/Geograph
Image caption The case is being heard at the Family Division of the High Court in London

During the hearing on Wednesday, barristers representing her said it had been difficult to receive instructions from her - but she had spoken to a member of staff at the British Consulate in Jeddah.

She told them there had been a practice of "locking her in her room", and her younger sister had been told she was an "evil girl".

She described "metal bars" on her bedroom and being a "locked-up girl with a shaved head", her lawyers said.

Mr Scott-Manderson said her father "says it's not true that he shaved Amina, he says Amina did that because she wanted to be shaved".

The judge is considering whether to make an order that she be brought back to the UK, or allowed to meet with the British Consulate without her father being present.

The judge said: "There are limits on the powers of enforcement - there are no reciprocal agreements between the UK and Saudi Arabia."

Mr Scott-Manderson added: "The father says Amina was at risk in Britain and the British government did nothing to help her.

"That's not a criticism of the British people, but he says Amina is reckless and cannot help herself and he has to help her.

"He says that the applicant's solicitor has been in contact throughout, he says, with the applicant."

Mr Justice Holman asked if Mr Scott-Manderson was able to elaborate on what she was at risk of in Britain.

Mr Scott-Manderson relayed his client's concerns, claiming she had not been focusing on school, had been taking drugs, "going to clubs and spending time with older men".

He said the Saudi government was paying Mr Al-Jeffery's legal bills, via the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Image caption A school yearbook photograph of Amina Al-Jeffery

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