Saudi Arabia's Princess Sara in UK asylum claim

Princess Sara
Image caption Princess Sara says she is seeking political asylum in the UK for herself and her children

The niece of Saudi Arabia's ruler says she is seeking political asylum in the UK.

Princess Sara bint Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud says she faces persecution by members of her family and also some of Saudi Arabia's authorities.

The mother-of-four says she has applied to the Home Office for political asylum. She moved to the UK in 2007 and currently lives in London.

The Home Office says it will not comment on individual cases.

Princess Sara, who is divorced, is also applying for asylum for her children.

She said in a statement that after she and her children's leave to remain in the UK expired, they applied to continue their stay in this country. However, this was refused by the Home Office in 2011.

'Smear campaign'

She added: "So, with deep regret, and as I have been left with no other choice, I have written to the UK Home Office to indicate that I, and my children, wish to be granted political asylum.

"My reputation has been besmirched in the media by a baseless and malicious smear campaign.

"For years I have endured all this in silence, while trying to resolve my situation with dignity through the normal channels, without fanfare or publicity.

"But my pleas to the Saudi authorities in the Kingdom have been obstructed and denied, and the Saudi embassy in London has turned its back on me."

Princess Sara went on to say that she has "nothing but respect for my uncle King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the people of Saudi Arabia".

"All I have ever sought is my legitimate rights, so that my children and I can resume our lives with dignity and I can resume my civil society and development work."

According to the Sunday Telegraph, a Saudi embassy diplomat said: "The embassy has been involved in settling her visa issue and residency issue in the UK. We have tried to settle this issue.

"This matter is of a personal nature so there is only so much the government can do. It's not a political matter."