Source: Police Have Theory in Saudi Sisters' Deaths

Law enforcement source says toxicology reports point to suicide
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2022 9:25 AM CDT
Police Source: Saudi Sisters' Deaths Look Like Suicide
Asra Abdullah Alsehli, left, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli.   (New South Wales Police)

(Newser) – Interim toxicology reports suggest two Saudi sisters found dead in their beds in Australia ingested substances as part of a suicide pact. That's according to a senior police source who spoke anonymously to the Daily Telegraph. "It really does appear to be a tragic suicide," the source tells the outlet, per Sky News, adding further tests will determine the exact cause of death. This comes after a woman went to police saying she encountered the reclusive asylum seekers Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, at a girls-only queer event in Sydney in January, where they were "keeping to themselves in a corner, looking shy," per the Guardian.

The woman said she spoke with the pair, who told her they were from Saudi Arabia. "We spoke about how unsafe it is for Saudi women to be openly gay and that that would put a target on their back," the woman said. "They said women live in fear of their safety and that they were grateful to be living in Australia, where they could more freely express themselves," she continued. The nature of the sisters' claim for asylum is unknown. However, an advocate tells the Guardian that "a significant number of people in the Saudi asylum community here fled because of their sexual orientation."

Police found the women dead in separate bedrooms inside their apartment in the Canterbury suburb of Sydney on June 7, though they had been dead a month or more by then. There were no signs of forced entry or injury. Police Detective Inspector Claudia Allcroft, who would not confirm the suicide line of inquiry, noted the decomposition of the bodies was "problematic," per the AP. However, the police source told the Daily Telegraph that the same substances found next to the bodies were detected in their systems. The sisters owed their landlord more than $5,000 in back rent, per Sky. (If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, seek help by calling 988 in the US.)

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