Mother forced to leave her children

Rick Feneley; 18/1/10

A Melbourne woman trapped for years in Saudi Arabia has been deported and forced home without three of her children, who remain with her allegedly abusive former husband. The Australian consul and embassy officials surrounded the 33-year-old Muslim convert, Jennifer Birrell, as she collapsed on the road outside her Riyadh home and pleaded with her ex-husband: ”Please, don’t take my kids from me.” The children, Aliyah, 8, Salem, 7, and Ibraheem, 4 – all born in Australia – wept as they were separated from their mother before she was escorted to the airport with her two other children and flown to Melbourne, where they arrived late on Friday night. After a long struggle to obtain exit visas for her family, Ms Birrell, who had been the director of English at Al-Yamamah University, says she was suddenly told this month she was being deported without charge or explanation – and with no right to the three children fathered by her ex-husband.