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Saudi Arabia's Princess Sara seeks political asylum in U.K.

(CBS News) A Saudi Arabian princess is seeking political asylum in the U.K., according to British reports.

Princess Sara bint Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the niece of Saudi Arabia's ruler, claims she faces persecution by members of her family and some of her home country's authorities, according to the BBC.

The mother of four, who is divorced, is also seeking political asylum for her children, the BBC reports. She moved to the U.K. in 2007 and currently lives in London.

In a statement, she said she and her children applied to continue their stay in the U.K. after their leave expired, but this was refused by the Home Office in 2011.

"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," the statement continued, according to the BBC.

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

The 38-year-old went on to say 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," the statement concluded.

The Daily Mail reports that the princess accused senior Saudi officials of plotting to kidnap her and return her to Riyadh, following "baseless" claims she sided with the country's political opponents. She also says she was assaulted and threatened, and there have been abduction attempts made against her children, according to the paper.

She currently resides in a five-star London hotel with her four children and two dogs, according to the Telegraph, which spoke to her "at a secret location."

"I am very scared right now. They know I can't go back now. There is a threat. That's a slap in the face of the kingdom," she said, according to the paper. "I've been physically abused. I've been mentally abused. My assets have been frozen. They've accused me of being in opposition [to them] with Iran, they haven't left anything. I've been crucified in every way."

The BBC reports that the Home Office said it would not comment on individual cases.

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