A Saudi Arabian princess who had an illegitimate child with a British man has secretly been granted asylum in
Her case is one of a small number of claims for asylum brought by citizens of
The woman, who comes from a very wealthy Saudi family, says she met her English boyfriend - who is not a Muslim - during a visit to
She became pregnant the following year and worried that her elderly husband - a member of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia - had become suspicious of her behaviour, she persuaded him to let her visit the
She persuaded the court that if she returned to the Gulf state she and her child would be subject to capital punishment under Sharia law - specifically flogging and stoning to death. She was also worried about the possibility of an honour killing.
Since she fled
The woman has been granted permanent leave to remain in the
The Home Office yesterday declined to discuss the case. A spokesman for the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in
Relations between the
The Saudi royal family was deeply concerned about the idea that the investigators might try to open up their Swiss bank accounts, it was alleged at the time.
This led the Saudis to threaten to restrict the sharing of intelligence relating to terror activity if the prosecution went ahead. They also threatened to pull out of other highly-lucrative arms deals.
Last year, the House of Lords ruled that the SFO’s decision to drop the corruption investigation into the Â£43bn Saudi arms deal with BAE Systems was unlawful.
In a hard-hitting ruling, two High Court judges described the SFO’s decision as "an outrage".
One of them, Lord Justice Moses, said the SFO and the Government had given into "blatant threats" that Saudi intelligence co-operation would end unless the probe into corruption was halted.
"No one, whether within this country or outside, is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice," he said. "It is the failure of government and the defendant to bear that essential principle in mind that justifies the intervention of this court."
Adulterers face public stonings and floggings and, in the most serious cases, beheadings and hangings.
The high numbers of executions in
The Society for Defending Women’s Rights in
Their brother shot them dead in front of their father when they left a women’s shelter in
In 2007, in a case that shocked Saudis, a woman from Qatif was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison after being gang-raped. She offended cultural expectations because she was unaccompanied when she got into a car with a former boyfriend.
The man had agreed to hand back a photograph of the woman who was about to marry another man, but as they drove along a street they were stopped and seized by seven men who raped them both. The woman was originally sentenced to 90 lashes but the sentence was increased when she appealed. Eventually, after an international outcry, she was pardoned.
In 2007, King Abdullah II of