Drama-like paternity case grips Saudi Arabia

Authorities looking into whether marriage between Indonesian woman and deceased Saudi man was legitimate

Manama: The Indonesian mother of a young girl whose Saudi father was killed in a motorcycle accident in Indonesia has been given financial assistance to help look after her while her family case is being reviewed.

Receiving the mother Mona and the daughter Haifa, Saudi Ambassador Osama Al Shoaibi sought to get more information from them as the authorities were looking into the case.

Earlier, the ambassador that the case would be assessed carefully and if the girl is a Saudi, her social, financial and education situation will be considered.

The case of Haifa, 11, and her mother Mona, 28, came to light after a video of the two, shot by a Saudi man in the Puncak mountain pass around 100 kilometres from the capital Jakarta, was forwarded to the Saudi embassy.

The videographer, Mohammad Ali Al Ghamdi, was reportedly intrigued by Haifa’s “Saudi looks” and filmed her and her mother. He was surprised the mother spoke Arabic and following his insistence, she told him that the daughter’s name was Haifa Al Harbi. Taking more details, Al Ghamdi reported the case to the Saudi embassy for action to reunite the family, Saudi daily Al Watan reported

Mona said that she had been with the Saudi national after they agreed to get married by writing the contract on a piece of paper that technically does not give legal rights to either of them.

She said she was 18 when she met the Saudi man who was on a visit to Indonesia. He proposed to her and she accepted to marry him. He reportedly built a small house for her next to her family and visited her every two months, spending one month together.

She knew nothing about his family in Saudi Arabia and his family back home reportedly was not aware of his marriage in Indonesia.

However, when he died in the fatal accident, she used his mobile to call his family.

Relatives came to Indonesia and repatriated the body, but she has not been in contact with the family since.

The mother did not report to the relatives the existence of the couple’s daughter, saying that she was concerned they would take her away.

Mona went on with her life and reportedly worked in a dry-cleaning shop to make a living and provide for Haifa.


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