Sisters who fled Saudi Arabia as teens to Australia found dead
Two sisters, who fled Saudi Arabia as adolescents in search of a safe haven in Australia, were discovered dead in "suspicious" circumstances in a south-west Sydney apartment.
Two sisters were discovered dead in a south-west Sydney flat under "suspicious" circumstances. The women left Saudi Arabia as adolescents to seek refuge in Australia.
Officers doing a welfare check discovered the ladies, aged 23 and 24, in separate beds of their first-floor Canterbury flat on June 7 after the couple failed to pay rent for four weeks and mail began to pile up outside their door.
Horrific news. Two sisters, aged 23 & 24, found dead in a Sydney unit were reportedly Saudi asylum seekershttps://t.co/gtlLAlD2K2— Sophie McNeill (@Sophiemcneill) June 18, 2022
The remains of the sisters had been there for "some time", according to police, and showed "no obvious signs of injury."
Authorities are treating their deaths as "suspicious", with the Homicide Squad investigating.
According to the Daily Mail Australia, the sisters escaped Saudi Arabia without their families in 2017, when they were 18 and 19, and NSW Police are now attempting to identify their relatives.
Two sisters were found "decaying" in their apartment near Sydney as it's revealed they had fled Saudi Arabia in 2017 as teens for the safety of Australia https://t.co/9EjNPSZs2D pic.twitter.com/Xi6vM9kBE2— Andreas Harsono (@andreasharsono) June 18, 2022
The women had been working with a refugee service for five years, assisting foreign nationals fleeing persecution and seeking asylum.
Police were still awaiting autopsy findings on Friday and have yet to locate and contact the women's families in the Middle East in order to properly identify the dead.
According to Daily Mail Australia, the sisters were not in frequent communication with their families back home.
In January 2019, the elder sister obtained an AVO against a 28-year-old guy, according to the Daily Mail Australia. It is unclear whether the man was a relative or not. Later, the AVO was withdrawn and dismissed.
After the owner of their apartment issued several notices to the women for overdue rent, police showed up at their apartment to hand them an eviction notice when they discovered they had been killed.
The ladies began visiting the adjoining service station in 2020, shortly before the Covid epidemic, and were regulars until two months ago, when they stopped going by. They described the duo, one brunette and one blonde, as "quiet" but "very friendly", and stated that they would only respond to questions.
The Daily Mail Australia has also reached out to the Saudi Consulate General for comment.
According to a 2019 Four Corners story, over 80 Saudi Arabian women attempted to seek refuge in Australia in recent years.
Many of them were escaping Saudi Arabia's male guardianship rules, which empower their spouses, fathers, siblings, uncles, and sons to manage their lives, according to the research.
Numerous human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch have commented on Saudi Arabia's horrendous slate of human rights abuses, from torture reports to murdering journalists and executing dissidents.
The women were characterized as "timid" in one of the inspections and refused to let anyone into the residence.
However, following protestations from a concerned party, the sisters reluctantly agreed to the check but spent it huddled together in the far corner of the apartment.
As they answered simple questions about their well-being, one sat down and the other cowered behind her.
According to a source, "They were standoffish and didn't really want to talk."
According to a source, the initial check was made by police in March, with authorities departing after the women maintained they were OK.
In a separate incident months ago, the sisters' black car was keyed and hauled away from their residence last week, maybe suggesting an act of vengeance.
In 2018, a similar story surfaced in the United States. Two sisters were found dead in the Hudson River, duct-taped together. The sisters were also seeking asylum in the US from Saudi Arabia.
In 2019, two Saudi sisters escaping Saudi Arabia were left stranded in Hong Kong on their way to Australia. At the time, the sisters stated that they feared for their life.