A Saudi Arabian princess who along with her daughter, was thrown into jail for allegedly criticising Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been released after three years.

Henri Estramant, an adviser for Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Sauf confirmed that she and her daughter, Souhoud Al Sharif, returned home last week. Estramant told The Guardian, "The two ladies were released from their arbitrary imprisonment, and arrived at their home in Jeddah on Thursday 6 January 2022. The princess is doing fine but will be seeking medical expertise. She seems worn out but is in good spirits, and thankful to reunite with her sons in person."

Saudi officials have not yet issued any comment on the mysterious arrest of the duo in March 2019 or their subsequent release without any charge. The arrests only made it to the news over a year after it happened when the princess claimed on Twitter that she had been "abducted" and "thrown into prison." The tweets containing the claims were soon deleted.

A relative had told reporters that the princess was detained as she had allegedly forged a passport in an attempt to leave the country to seek medical treatment in Switzerland for an undisclosed illness. However, some of her family claimed in written testimony to the United Nations in 2020 that they believe the 57-year-old was arrested because she was "an outspoken critic of abuses" by the Saudi Crown Prince and his controversial rise to power, in addition to the treatment of women in the kingdom.

The family also expressed concerns that the kingdom was trying to "get rid of the princess," who is the youngest child of late King Saud bin Abdulaziz.

Mohammed bin Salman had succeeded as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in 2017 after his father King Salman bin Abdulaziz came into power following the death of former monarch Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in 2017. Among other alleged crimes and human rights violations, the Crown Prince has been accused of ordering the killing of U.S.-based writer Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Saudi Royal Palace / Bandar AL-JALOUD