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Runaway Saudi sisters to leave Georgia after being granted asylum in 'secret location'

The al-Subaie sisters announced they had been granted asylum on Twitter [Screenshot]

Date of publication: 7 May, 2019

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Saudi runaway sisters Maha and Wafa al-Subaie have said they are leaving Georgia for an undisclosed location.

Two Saudi sisters who fled their home country due to what they say is their abusive family and the kingdom's misogynistic laws say they have been granted asylum.

Maha, 28, and Wafa al-Subaie, 25, made the announcement on Twitter on Tuesday from Georgia, where they had fled to and started their online campaign.

"We are thrilled to announce that we are leaving Georgia," the pair wrote from their Twitter account @GeorgiasSisters2, accompanied by a short video of them holding Georgian passports.

Despite applying for asylum in Georgia last month, the sisters said they would not be able to settle in the former Soviet republic due to visa laws that would allow their family to easily travel there. Wafa and Maha have previously said that they were in danger of being found by their male relatives.

The sisters said their new destination would remain a secret "for a little while".

"As we settle in our new home and life we will continue to support Saudi women. We will continue our fight against guardian abuse. Many Saudi women supported us and we will never forget it," they wrote on Twitter.

Maha and Wafa al-Subaie fled to Georgia in April, saying that they were treated like 'slaves' by their family, who regularly threatened them.

The sisters' case comes amid what many are calling Saudi Arabia's own refugee crisis, triggered in part by the chilling effect of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's crackdown on freedoms and failed promises of reform, especially with regard to the male guardianship system.

The so-called male guardianship laws require women in Saudi Arabia, regardless of their age, to have the consent of a male relative to obtain a passport, travel or marry.

Earlier this year, 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun also came under the spotlight when she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Bangkok after fleeing her Saudi family during a trip to Kuwait.

Her social media pleas on Twitter prompted quick action by the UNHCR and she was granted asylum in Canada.

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