UNHCR grants asylum to Saudi woman in elopement case

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Updated 25 November 2013
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UNHCR grants asylum to Saudi woman in elopement case

SANAA: Huda Al-Niran, a Saudi woman who eloped with her Yemeni suitor last month and crossed illegally into Yemen, heaved a sigh of relief on Sunday when the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees agreed to grant her asylum.
The UNHCR told Yemen media that the woman was given asylum on humanitarian grounds.
Al-Niran, 22, claims she escaped forced marriage in Saudi Arabia and came to Yemen illegally to marry her Yemeni suitor Arafat Mohammed Tahar.
As she pleaded her case to be able to stay and marry Tahar, 25, her supporters demonstrated outside the Sanaa courthouse, sporting headbands proclaiming “We are all Huda.”
In court, she refused to accept a lawyer provided by the Saudi Embassy, fearing pressure to return home.
But Huda did accept to be represented by a lawyer appointed by a Yemeni non-government organisation called Hood, who said he hoped for a favorable outcome.
"This is a humanitarian case, and must not raise tensions between the two countries," lawyer Abdel Rakib al-Qadi told AFP.
Tahar is also on trial for helping her to illegally cross the border.
Following the news of Huda’s asylum, activists announced that two local tribal leaders made donations to help the two tie the knot.


TheFace: Saudi entrepreneur Samar Alhashim

Samar Alhashim. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 38 min 44 sec ago
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TheFace: Saudi entrepreneur Samar Alhashim

  • She found her passion in business administration and economics, and chose to pursue this interest as another degree
  • Alhashim’s future plans are to continue promoting physical and social well-being to the country’s citizens

Samar Alhashim’s success story started in the Eastern Province where she was born and raised. There, she graduated with an English literature degree, and started her adventure by moving to the US in 1993 as a newlywed. 

She found her passion in business administration and economics, and chose to pursue this interest as another degree. At Philadelphia University she studied for an MBA degree with a minor in international business. 

Returning to the Eastern Province, Alhashim decided to open her first business, a fusion of a tea lounge and art gallery in 2007. Due to the high demand for her concept, she decided to expand her small business into the capital city of Riyadh. The business flourished and became a central hub for many families and art lovers. 

In addition to her restaurant business, Alhashim established a new concept, one almost foreign to Saudi society at the time. “My Saudi Wellness,” a venture targeted at a healthy lifestyle in the Saudi community, was well underway. 

Today, with her strong commitment to introducing healthy living and fitness to Saudi society, as well as support from the Vision 2030 plan in the Kingdom, Alhashim’s future plans are to continue promoting physical and social well-being to the country’s citizens.