Manama: The father of the Saudi woman at the centre of a storm following her conversion to Christianity and flight from the country has rejected the court ruling against the main defendant in the case.

The court on Saturday sentenced the Lebanese director of a company where the woman worked before fleeing Saudi Arabia to six years in prison and 300 lashes for his alleged role in her conversion.

However, the father said that he would challenge the verdict.

“The ruling is not appropriate for what he has done to us,” the father who was not named told Saudi daily Al Yawm. “He has deprived us of our daughter and he must assume his responsibilities. We will ask the court to keep him behind bars until our daughter comes home,” he said.

The woman, known in the local media as ‘The Khobar Woman’ in reference to the eastern city where she worked, has reportedly fled to Sweden.

Embassy help sought

“I hope the Saudi embassy in Sweden will deploy greater efforts to locate and repatriate our daughter. I believe the diplomatic mission has information about her and I would like them to do their utmost to find her,” he said.

The father added that his daughter would be treated with care and that she would not be harmed in any way. “I will provide all the required guarantees to ensure her safety,” he said.

The unusual conversion and fleeing case in the Saudi kingdom made headlines last summer after a man filed a formal complaint, claiming that his daughter who worked in an insurance company in Khobar was influenced by her Lebanese director to convert to Christianity and flee her country.

A Saudi national who had business connections with the company reportedly helped her by forging a travel document that allowed her to leave Saudi Arabia. She arrived in Lebanon before transiting through Turkey to go to Sweden.

A first attempt by her father to convince her to return home has apparently failed after her “supporters” warned her that she would be killed for her conversion if she accepted to go back.

The Saudi national was on Saturday sentenced to two years in jail and 200 lashes for his role in the case.