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Human Rights

Saudi sisters Wafa and Maha granted asylum

Sisters Maha and Wafa al-Subaie post a photo of themselves leaving Georgia
Sisters Maha and Wafa al-Subaie post a photo of themselves leaving Georgia Twitter / @GeorgiaSisters2
Text by: Anne-Marie Bissada
3 min

The two Saudi sisters who made international headlines in April seeking help to leave Georgia before their family or officials forced them back to Saudi Arabia, have finally been offered asylum in an undisclosed location.


It was a story that made headlines as sisters Maha and Wafa fled their abusive family and arrived in Georgia 17 April where they started to ask for help in relocation to a third country.

“We decided to leave Saudi Arabia because life there had become unbearable from the torture. We were threatened and abused daily by our family, father and mother and brothers,” Maha had said in an interview with RFI.

In direct contact with RFI and other news outlets, the sisters explained that they had been planning to leave since 2014 after their lives had become unbearable from the constant repression at the hands of their family and the government.

Under the Saudi male guardianship system, a woman, regardless of her age, is under constant surveillance by an official male guardian.

Easy access to Georgia

Georgia is one of the few countries that Saudi citizens can travel to without a visa, making it an easier destination for the girls to get to.

But ultimately, the longer they waited there, the more precarious their situation became as twitter trolls, reportedly from their family, began harassing them and tweeting threats to the sisters.

Maha and Wafa al-Subaie: Menacing Twitter comments

The UNHCR did work with the sisters in helping them find a safe place in Georgia.

Success story

In the end, a tweet and a photo telling their supporters that they had finally been accepted in a third country.

For the time being as they settle into their new lives, the sisters have asked for privacy from the media.

The location of their new home is also not known, to ensure their safety.

Maha and Wafa al-Subaie have left Georgia
Maha and Wafa al-Subaie have left Georgia Twitter / @GeorgiaSisters2

While the sisters and other girls fleeing the Saudi Kingdom have found a happy ending, others have not been lucky as in the case of Dina Ali Lasloom.

She made it as far as the Philippines in 2017, but was then forced back to the kingdom. Her current whereabouts and condition remain unknown.

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