Saudi women who have fled Saudi Arabia and taken refuge in Germany are still receiving threats from their families through the kingdom’s embassy, Deutsche Welle (DW) has reported.
“You cannot escape from us! We know that you are not in your apartment. We will catch you even if you hide at the farthest point on earth…” This was one of the messages that reached Aisha, a Saudi refugee.
“The embassy has people who can get information about you through the city administration,” was another threat she received from a mobile number belonging to her family.
Aisha ran away after her family arranged her marriage to a man she deemed rude and who she hardly knew. To do this, she stole her father’s mobile phone and used an application on his phone to issue herself with a travel permit allowing her to board a plane to Germany.
“I had nothing to lose,” she says of her actions.
She applied for asylum upon her arrival and headed to Halberstadt, home to the only Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) responsible for handling asylum applications from Saudis.
DW reported that “shortly after their arrival in Germany, Nora and Mashael received disturbing WhatsApp messages … ‘Do you think that we don’t know where you are? We received instructions from the Saudi Embassy. You will be killed.’”
Both women considered the threats a form of “psychological terrorism”.
Mashael said: “There are a lot of other Saudi women who have not had the chance to escape. This is our chance to be the voice of these women.”
DW inquired about the matter in the German Ministry of the Interior, which commented that it had no information about potential spies and that such “responsibility lies within the jurisdictions of each German state”.
In August 2018, Aisha heard a knock on the door one morning. She found a veiled lady there who “seemed confused, as if she needed help.” When Aisha opened the door, the woman pushed her inside the flat and a man entered the property. Aisha locked herself in the bathroom and called the police as the two searched the flat. She was then moved to a safe shelter for women.
After the incident, Aisha began receiving WhatsApp messages from Saudi Arabia. The tone of the messages was clear. “Should I tell you a secret so that you know that we can reach you?” one message said, “Do you know the people who came to your apartment? We sent them to you so you realise that we can easily reach you.”
“By the way, it’s only a matter of time before we find your new home, and no one will be able to protect you from us.” Aisha says: “The Saudi phone number which kept sending her the messages is owned by one of her brothers.”
As a result, in September 2018, Aisha left the state of Saxony-Anhalt and moved to Hamburg and changed her mobile number.
The Saudi embassy in Berlin did not respond to requests for comment made by the German press.