‘They were a happy family,’ says relative of Saudi sisters found dead in New York

‘They were a happy family,’ says relative of Saudi sisters found dead in New York
The relative of Rotana Farea, 22, and Tala Farea, 16, told Arab News that the family of six was just like any other Saudi family who moves between home and abroad. (Supplied)
Updated 30 October 2018

‘They were a happy family,’ says relative of Saudi sisters found dead in New York

‘They were a happy family,’ says relative of Saudi sisters found dead in New York
  • Claims they committed suicide or ran away are refuted by grief-stricken family member
  • Family’s privacy used to explain why they didn’t have a presence on social media

JEDDAH: A grief-stricken family member of the two Saudi sisters found dead last Wednesday on the shores of the Hudson River in New York City said they were both happy and supported, refusing to believe reports that they committed suicide or had run away.
The relative of Rotana Farea, 22, and Tala Farea, 16, told Arab News that the family of six was just like any other Saudi family who moves between home and abroad. They had decided to move to the United States a few years ago, seeking better schools for the sisters and their two brothers, 18 and 11 years old. The children lived with their mother, Wafa’a, in the Virginia suburbs, and their father, Abdulsalam, often travelled back to Saudi Arabia, where he had a job.
“They were just like any one of us, they were a happy family. They were comfortable and at ease with everyone, and so the rumors that they ran away from home were beyond us. It’s impossible. Their mother was naturally protective, but in no way was their household problematic for them to run away.”
The relative rebutted media claims that the girls ran away from home and were missing for two months.
Rotana was specializing in computer and information technology at college and recently moved to New York, where she changed schools and her major. Tala was reported missing when she went to see her sister in New York this summer without her mother’s knowledge, the family member explained.
“Tala was upset for quite some time after her sister decided to continue her studies in NYC. Yes, it did cause a problem for the family as the mother had to file a missing case report to the police over her daughter’s disappearance, but the search was called off later when they found Tala was with her sister, Rotana. The police told their mother that since her younger daughter was safe with an adult, it’s safe to call off the search.”
An amber alert was issued by the Fairfax County Police Department on Aug. 24 but later was removed after the younger sister’s whereabouts were confirmed.
The two young women were very close to their father as they both were the apples of his eyes, the relative said. Although Saudi students have the option of applying for a full government scholarship to study abroad, Rotana decided not to, indicating that the family is financially well off.
The girls’ relative spoke of how humble and shy they were. They were both gifted in school; before moving to the States, Tala had a full-year scholarship from one of Jeddah’s most prestigious schools, Dar Al-Fikr. As any teen their age, they were both into fashion, but not very much into social media.
“They were private and kept to themselves most of the time, but we communicated mostly via Snapchat and it wasn’t a surprise to any of us that they wouldn’t have any accounts on other social media apps,” said the family member. “They were calm and always polite. All families have problems. What kind of sibling relationship would it be without fights every now and then? But that didn’t push them to the edge as the Western media is portraying.”
The initial report of the medical examiner at the scene was that no trauma was found on the bodies, which were bound together.
A statement from the Saudi Arabian consulate in New York City on Monday said it is following up on the case to find out the facts. The embassy in Washington, DC also sought to communicate with the family of the victims “to stand with them and help them in this circumstance.”
Arab News contacted the New York Police Department and was told the case was referred to the criminal investigation unit while the cause of death was still pending determination. They do not rule out anything at this time. More updates will be available.


Saudi crown prince congratulates Djibouti president on re-election

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sent a cable of congratulations to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti. (SPA/AFP/File Photos)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sent a cable of congratulations to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti. (SPA/AFP/File Photos)
Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi crown prince congratulates Djibouti president on re-election

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sent a cable of congratulations to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti. (SPA/AFP/File Photos)
  • Ismail Omar Guelleh obtained 98.58 percent of the vote

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sent a cable of congratulations to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti after he won a fifth term in the country’s recent presidential elections 

In his cable, the crown prince wished the president success, stressing keenness on enhancing bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Djibouti. 

He also wished the president good health and happiness as well as the people of Djibouti steady progress and prosperity, Saudi Press Agency reported.

“President Ismail Omar Guelleh obtained 167,535 votes, which is 98.58 percent,” Interior Minister Moumin Ahmed Cheick announced last Friday.

He added that the confirmed results would be released by the Constitutional Council.

 


UN Security Council welcomes Saudi initiative to end Yemeni crisis

The UN Security Council has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s peace initiative to end the Yemeni conflict and reach a political solution to the crisis. (AFP/File Photo)
The UN Security Council has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s peace initiative to end the Yemeni conflict and reach a political solution to the crisis. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 17 April 2021

UN Security Council welcomes Saudi initiative to end Yemeni crisis

The UN Security Council has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s peace initiative to end the Yemeni conflict and reach a political solution to the crisis. (AFP/File Photo)
  • The Council also called on Yemeni parties to continue implementing the provisions of the Riyadh Agreement
  • Members denounced recent cross-border attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militia on Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The UN Security Council has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s peace initiative to end the Yemeni conflict and reach a political solution to the crisis.

In a press statement issued on Friday, the UNSC said the Saudi initiative is in line with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths’ peace proposal, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi proposal entails a nationwide cease-fire, the reopening of Sanaa International Airport and allowing fuel and food imports through the port of Hodeidah.

The statement indicated that the UNSC called on all Yemeni parties to engage constructively with the UN Special Envoy and negotiate without preconditions, for an immediate ceasefire throughout the country and a comprehensive political settlement, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UN Security Council resolutions.

The UNSC also urged the participation of Yemeni women and the country’s youth in talks in accordance with relevant resolutions, underlying its members' commitment to the sovereignty and territorial unity of Yemen. 

The Council also called on Yemeni parties to continue implementing the provisions of the Riyadh Agreement.

The Security Council members denounced the recent cross-border attacks by the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Saudi Arabia, calling for an immediate end to the Houthis’ escalation against Yemeni city of Marib.

The council also held the Houthi militia accountable for the danger posed by the Safer oil tanker, calling on Houthis to ensure an immediate and unconditional access of the UN experts to inspect and repair the long-abandoned fuel tanker off the coast of Yemen.


Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 387,795
  • A total of 6,810 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced nine deaths from COVID-19 and 948 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 419 were recorded in Riyadh, 210 in Makkah, 133 in the the Eastern Province, 34 in Asir, 32 in Madinah, 23 in Jazan, 20 in Hail, 15 in Tabuk, 12 in the Northern Borders region, nine in Najran and seven in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 387,795 after 775 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,810 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.


Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan

Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan
Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan

Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan
  • The platform has been recently launched as an integrated technology portal

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have donated $8.1 million for charitable and not-for-profit activities via the Ehsan Platform, state news agency SPA reported.

The platform has been recently launched as an integrated technology portal that contributes to the governance, management and sustainability of donations. King Salman donated $5.4 million (SR20 million) while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman contributed $2.7 million (SR10 million).

Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf bin Jamaan Al-Ghamdi, Chairman of Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, thanked the Saudi leaders for their generous donations which according to him was an affirmation of “attention being paid by the state’s leadership through being in touch with citizens’ needs and expending for goodness ways.”

Al-Ghamdi expressed the Crown Prince’s keenness to support charitable work and develop the non-profit sector.


Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan

Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan
Updated 17 April 2021

Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan

Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan
  • Coalition said it is taking operational measures to protect civilians

RIYADH: The Arab coalition destroyed a Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan on Friday, Al-Ekhbariya reported.

The militia’s hostile attempts to target civilians are systematic and deliberate, the coalition said. 

The coalition said it is taking operational measures to protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law.

The attack came a day after the coalition destroyed five ballistic missiles and four explosive-laden drones launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Those attacks originated from Sa’dah governorate in Yemen, spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Malki said.