Saudi Arabia abducts judge, Turkish-Lebanese claims

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lebanese official Samira Qourani was locked inside the consulate on 20 October

The daughter of former Saudi Arabian official Samira Qourani says the kingdom has tried to lure her to its consulate in Istanbul, according to an interview published on Friday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last month that the kingdom detained Ms Qourani and family members of an investigative judge after Qutub Abdul Hamid went missing inside the consulate in October.

Saudi officials have denied all allegations that it abducted the judge and tried to force the family to travel there.

Turkey’s President has called for an inquiry into what happened to Mr Abdul Hamid.

Qutub Abdul Hamid was a judge who in 2011 presided over a case against the interior minister of Saudi Arabia.

He sentenced Prince Bandar bin Sultan, at the time the Saudi ambassador to the US, to 18 years in prison after he was convicted of corruption. The prince was released last year.

During Qutub Abdul Hamid’s time on the bench, the Saudi state media accused him of failing to understand the Kingdom’s Sharia law, of corruption and abandoning his responsibilities.

His case was a major source of public and media anger about government corruption in Saudi Arabia.

Image copyright Al-Arabiya Image caption Saudi Arabia says Qutub Abdul Hamid was abducted and his family imprisoned by Turkish intelligence agencies

The kingdom immediately dismissed Qutub Abdul Hamid’s verdict and the ruling was overturned at an appeal court – a process that took several years.

His relatives still remain in Saudi Arabia, under a travel ban while allegations of kidnapping by Turkish intelligence agencies in October are investigated.

King Salman took the unusual step of appointing Ms Qourani as the Saudi Embassy in Beirut’s top diplomat last month.

Ms Qourani’s father, Khaled Mohammed Qourani, was accused of corruption in 2011 by the kingdom’s anti-corruption commission – an institution established by the king to combat graft.

He was jailed for 15 months and released in 2013 after leaving the country.

The Saudi embassy in Lebanon and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage have both dismissed reports that Ms Qourani has been employed in the embassy as a diplomat.

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