news Saturday, January 31, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | January 29, 2015 | 2.10 pm IST

World leaders have showered the Saudi Arabian king with praises upon his death on January 23, but these drowned out other voices which sought to set the record straight on whether the man really was the peace-loving man he was made out to be.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud who died on Friday has been glorified by world leaders and media has been portraying him as a reformer who welcomed advancement.

US President Barack Obama had admired him by saying “I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective”.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has praised Abdullah’s commitment to peace while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to honor the late king “an important voice who left a lasting impact on his country.”

On the other hand there are criticisms to this glorification citing King Abdullah’s dictatorship and chauvinism.

Ishaan Tharoor, former senior editor at TIME and foreign affairs writer at The Washington Post questions King Abdullah’s ideologies on gender rights in context with the house arrest of King’s four daughters and other inequalities followed in Saudi in his recent article "Don’t forget the late Saudi King’s ‘jailed’ princesses"

Tharoor criticizes Christine Lagarde, the female head of the International Monetary Fund, who proclaimed the king as "a strong advocate for women” and called the king as the advocate of draconian religious laws.

The writer proves his statements by explaining the weird laws been followed in Saudi Arabia like women are still banned from driving in the country.

The Article says Abdullah, like any other Saudi royals, had numerous wives - at least seven, and perhaps as many as 30. He has 15 daughters and four among them, according to news reports, live under house arrest.

The house arrest of Princesses Jawaher 38, Sahar 42, Hala 39 and Maha 41 had gained media attention last year. Their mother Alanoud Al-Fayez, who lives in Britain for last 15 years, had been divorced by her husband several times according to Tharoor.



Fayaz had told media earlier that her four daughters have been locked away for more than a decade, subject to abuse and deprivation.

In an interview given by Saha to a Middle Eastern online magazine Muftah, she had confirmed all allegations against King Abdulla.

“My sister Jawaher suffers from asthma and is denied her medication. Maha and Hala were physically restrained by members of the Saudi National guard and Royal Clinic had injected them with substances” she said in the interview

The Princesses had also said they were being punished for backing women's rights and resisting the kingdom's strict rules mandating male guardianship over women.

Fayaz has started an online media campaign through the twitter page Free The 4 Women, seeking her daughters’ freedom.

She has also said that her daughters have been starving for last 10 months.

Meanwhile, recently Amnesty International has released a statement seeking liberation of these princesses and assuring that necessary steps will be taken for their release. The organization also urged that they be granted immediate access to appropriate medical treatment and adequate food.

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.