News Alert: Saudi Arabia: Equality Now issues urgent call for the immediate reunification of the family of Fatima Bent Suleiman Al Azzaz and Mansour Ben Attieh El Timani as the family’s health deteriorates

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27 Jul 2009

Equality Now recently called on the Saudi government to take urgent action to reunite Fatima Bent Suleiman Al Azzaz and Mansour Ben Attieh El Timani, a happily married couple who were forced to divorce against their will and have been living apart under duress for over three years. For more background on the case, please see Women's Action 31.1.

Equality Now has just learned with deep concern that Nuha, their 5-year-old daughter is showing signs of acute trauma. Nuha is severely distressed at not being able to see her mother and will not let her father out of her sight knowing he is under constant threat of imprisonment. She fears all strangers. Nuha is barred from going to school because her father cannot get her birth certificate or any other documents for her that are required for school admittance. Nuha’s younger brother, Suleiman, lives in an orphanage with his mother under extremely difficult circumstances. These are the cruel repercussions of the forcible divorce of a happily married couple, condoned and enforced by the Saudi authorities.

Fatima is also suffering persecution in an attempt to wear her down and remove any support she may have in facing her ordeal. Officials at the orphanage have tried to take Fatima’s laptop computer and cell phone but she has so far been able to resist these attempts. She has also been put under surveillance by two female guards, who monitor her every move.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Saudi Ambassador in your country, urging the immediate reunification of Fatima, Mansour and their children so that they can attempt to rebuild their lives in peace and security without fear of persecution or abuse. Ask that the government put a stop to all forced divorces, so that couples who wish can reunite.

Contact information for Saudi embassies around the world can be found on the following websites:

Please send copies of your letters to:

Dr. Bandar bin Abdullah El Aiban
The Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 58889 Riyadh 11515
King Fahed Street
Building 373, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 14 612 061



Dear Ambassador:

It is with deep concern that I have learned of the severe trauma of 5-year-old Nuha, daughter of Fatima Bent Suleiman Al Azzaz and Mansour Ben Attieh El Timani, who were divorced by the Saudi authorities against their will and in breach of Saudi Arabia’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The forced separation of Nuha and her younger brother Suleiman’s parents and their intolerable treatment by the Saudi authorities is not, by the government’s own admission, legally prescribed. I ask you to do all that you can to end this family’s suffering. Please ask the King to grant the immediate reunification of Fatima, Mansour and their children and allow them to rebuild their shattered lives without fear of persecution or abuse. I ask that you do the same for all other couples forcibly divorced in Saudi Arabia who wish to be reunited.

Sincerely yours,