Mysterious death of Saudi sisters found a month later puzzles Australian authorities


Elsa Maishman – BBC News

posted on 07/29/2022 08:29

  (credit: New South Wales Police)

(credit: New South Wales Police)

Australian police are stunned after the bodies of two Saudi women, who had been missing for a month, were found in an apartment in the city of Sydney.

Sisters Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, were found dead on June 7 in separate beds at a house in a suburb of Canterbury.

Police, who were called to the property for a routine check, believe the women died in early May.

However, despite “extensive investigations”, authorities still do not know how or why this happened.

According to local newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, the sisters moved to Australia from Saudi Arabia in 2017 and may have sought asylum. Police declined to confirm this information, saying they do not comment on the residential status of people in the country.

A human rights organization stated that some facts need to be clarified – such as the suspicion that women left Saudi Arabia because of domestic violence or because of the harsh laws of the country. However, there is no evidence that this is the case.

Australian police say they have contacted the women’s family members, and they are cooperating with the investigation.

Lina al-Hathloul, head of monitoring and communications for ALQST, a Saudi human rights organization, said this “would not be the first case” of Saudi women killed abroad after fleeing domestic violence.

“There is no protection for women victims of domestic violence in Saudi Arabia, so they flee abroad,” she told the BBC.

“I’m not saying that’s the case here, but we need a full investigation. It’s frustrating not having any information,” he added.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there were signs that something was wrong with the two sisters.

Last year, the women told the janitor of the building where they lived that they suspected someone was tampering with their food deliveries, the newspaper reported.

A plumber who visited the apartment also said he believed there was “something mysterious” going on and that the police had been called in the past because of concerns about the two sisters.

New South Wales State Police have issued an appeal to the public, saying “any information” could be paramount to solving the case.

“The local community is very tight-knit,” police said in a statement, asking anyone who might have met or seen the women to come forward.

A report carried by Australian broadcaster ABC in 2019 found that 80 Saudi women had tried to seek asylum in Australia in recent years.

Many of them were fleeing the country because of laws that restrict women’s liberties and require male guardianship for many occasions.

– This text was published in

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