A pair of sisters from Saudi Arabia, who attempted to flee to Australia after being abused by male family members, say they may be killed if they are forced to return home.
Going by the aliases Reem and Rawan the sisters are 20 and 18, according to the Agence France-Presse. They were trying to make their way to Melbourne when they were intercepted, reportedly by Saudi consular officials, during a stopover in Hong Kong. Their passports have been revoked, and they have been living in hiding in Hong Kong for six months.
“Michael Vidler, a lawyer for the pair, said Hong Kong immigration authorities had indicated they would be ‘tolerated’ until 28 February but could then be deported,” the AFP writes.
The sisters say that they were beaten by their father and their brothers—including one who is only 10 years old—for such behaviors at waking up late for prayers. They carefully engineered their escape, sneaking away while on a family vacation in Sri Lanka because their parents kept their passports in a safe while at home. Reem and Rawan add that they have renounced Islam, and thus fear for their safety if they are made to return.
“Either we will be killed because they want to clear [the] shame we brought as women who left by their own, or they will force us to marry … our cousins,” said Reem, according to the AFP.
Their plight echoes that of Rahaf Mohammed, a Saudi teenager who was recently granted asylum in Canada after a viral social media campaign saved her from deportation. Vidler, the sisters’ lawyer, says that Reem and Rawan also hope to find asylum in another country.
Watch an interview with Reem and Rawan below:
Read more at the AFP.