'We are hostages': Saudi princesses who say they are kept locked in palace as punishment for advocating women's rights make another plea for help.
One of the Saudi princesses who claims she and her sisters are being held captive by their father has managed to make contact with the outside world.
Sahar, the eldest daughter of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, said the women were being starved and beaten on the orders of her father.
The 42-year-old princess, who had lived a life of luxury before the past 13 years of captivity, made her claims during a clandestine phone call to the New York Post.
Fall from grace: The King's ex-wife Al Fayez with their four children who, as adults, say they are being held hostage.
Outspoken: The princesses claim their father, King Abdullah, did not approve of them supporting women's rights.
'We are cut off and isolated and alone. We are hostages,' she said.
'No one can come see us, and we can't go see anyone. Our father is responsible and his sons, our half-brothers, are both culprits in this tragedy.'
She said that the King was punishing her and her three sisters, Jawaher, Hala, and Maha, because they spoke out about the injustices and inequality faced by women in Saudi Arabia. 'That was it for him. It was the end for us,' Sahar said.
Saudi Arabia has one of the most oppressive human rights records for gender inequality. Women must be covered from head to toe, are banned from driving and have every move shadowed by a male guardian - usually a husband, brother or father.
The girls' mother, who fled into self-imposed exile in London to escape what she said was an abusive relationship, backed up her daughters' claims and said she feared for their safety.
Prisoners: Princesses Sahar and Jawaher said they are, in effect, being held under house arrest in the royal compound in Jeddah
'They once had a normal life for Saudi Arabia, but they are free thinkers, and their father hates that,' Alanoud Al Fayez told the New York Post.
'They are compassionate about the plight of women in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Arab world. The injustices that we see are terrible, and someone must say something.'
Her daughters claim that they are beaten, denied food and water for days at a time, and have been confined to a dark and isolated part of the royal estate.
Power supplies and running water are shut off for days or weeks at a time and the women have been separated from one another, with Sahar and Jawher in one room and Hala and Maha in another.
'Our energy is quite low, and we're trying our best to survive,' Sahar said, adding that the rooms they are kept in are sweltering hot and overrun with bugs.
She added that men, including their half-brothers have beaten them with sticks.
Speaking out: Sahar is the eldest daughter and has somehow remained able to convey to the world the depraved state of human rights, especially against women, in Saudi Arabia
Campaign: The women's mother wanted Obama to raise her daughters' plight during his visit to the King, above
An official at the Saudi embassy in London denied the sisters' claims and said they were free to go where they liked but, because they are royalty, they needed to be accompanied by armed guards.
Their mother however, rejected the official's claims and alleged that her former husband wanted the sisters to die.
'That place was once a home. Now it's a cage,' she told the Post.
'The king wants them dead and he wants them to die in front of the world, yet he will deny any of this ever happened.'
Al Fayez has campaigned about her daughers' plight to President Obama and the UN.
The 57-year-old called on Obama to help before he visited the King during an official visit.
'Mr Obama should take this opportunity to address these grave violations committed against my daughters,' she said.
'Since 13 years, my daughters Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher are being held captive. 'They need to be saved and released immediately.'
Al Fayez has written to the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to say that her daughters are 'imprisoned, held against their will, cut off from the world'.
Separated: Al Fayez fled to London and her daughters are being kept isolated from each other in the palace
Obama paid a visit to Saudi King Abdullah's desert oasis at the end of March.
Abdullah became king of Saudi Arabia in 2005. The oil-rich state is a key ally of the U.S. in the Middle East and its extensive royal family enjoy massive wealth, with the king one of the world's richest men.
Al Fayez was only 15 when she married King Abdullah, who was then in his 40s, but he divorced her just over a decade later.
The king, who has 38 children by a number of wives, has placed his four daughters with Alfayez under the control of three of their half-brothers, according to Sahar.
'We are hostages': Saudi princesses who say they are kept locked in palace as punishment for advocating women's rights.