Man who ‘imprisoned’ daughter loses legal bid to restrict media


High court judge says case involving British woman in Saudi Arabia raises serious issues that need to be heard in public.

An academic accused of imprisoning his 21-year-old daughter at their home inSaudi Arabia has failed in an attempt to limit reporting of the case.

Amina al-Jeffery – who grew up in Swansea and has dual British and Saudi nationality – said her father, Mohammed, locked her up because she “kissed a guy”.

Lawyers representing Amina al-Jeffery have taken legal action in London in an attempt to protect her and have asked Mr Justice Holman to look at ways to help her.

The judge analysed the case at a public hearing in the family division of the high court in London and lawyers are due to file final documentation on Monday. Holman is scheduled to deliver a ruling on Wednesday.

He has said there were reasons to be concerned about the woman’s welfare, and rejected an application from her father for restrictions to be placed on what journalists could report.

The judge was told that Amina al-Jeffery moved from Swansea to Saudi Arabia at her father’s insistence four years ago. Her mother and siblings are in south Wales.

The father has admitted locking his daughter in his flat when he went out, and said he previously had steel latticework over the windows so his daughter could not shout out.

Neither Amina al-Jeffery nor her father, who is in his 60s, have been at the court hearing in London.

Marcus Scott-Manderson QC, representing the father, told Holman at the end of proceedings on Thursday that Mohammed al-Jeffery wanted reporting restrictions. But Holman said: “No. Afraid not.”

He said the father had not warned media organisations of his application to limit journalists’ right to free speech, a right enshrined in article 10 of the European convention on human rights. And he said there were good reasons for holding the hearing in public, even though it was in a family court, and allowing journalists to report freely.

“I happen to think that the case raises issues that require to be ventilated in public,” the judge said. “This is not just tittle-tattle stuff. There are very serious issues here.”

He added: “I dare say the publicity is extremely disagreeable to the father.”