- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 10, 2002

A California woman who has been pursuing her two American-born daughters since they were abducted 16 years ago and taken to Saudi Arabia is determined to continue her quest even though her daughters have now said publicly they don't want any contact with her.

"I don't want the United States or any contact with my mother," Alia al-Gheshayan, 23, told an Associated Press reporter in London a few days ago.

"The sisters repeatedly said they don't want to see their mother and they don't want to come to the United States," Stacey Hocheiser, a producer with Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," said last week after meeting with Alia and her younger sister, Aisha.

Patricia Roush said this is all part of a Saudi campaign to get her daughters to publicly renounce her and end the diplomatic embarrassment she is causing their kingdom.

"My daughters are not free to speak the truth, and this whole scam has again caused all three of us great anguish," said Mrs. Roush, whose daughters were 7 and 3 years old in 1986 when they were kidnapped by ex-husband Khalid al-Gheshayan, a Saudi national.

Mrs. Roush said yesterday she remains determined to have her daughters and granddaughter come "for an extended vacation with me in my home, where they will be able to relax, talk to me and we can get to know each other personally after this long separation."

In the meantime, she and her Baltimore lawyer, Joshua Ambush, are considered legal action against those who conspired to perpetuate the abduction of the sisters. When the sisters were in England which has signed the Hague Convention and its rules on treatment of kidnapped children "they had an opportunity to be freed, had the proper authorities been alerted," he said.

The Roush case was one of the reasons Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican and chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, and several House colleagues recently flew to Saudi Arabia to talk about U.S. citizens held there against their will.

Unbeknownst to Mrs. Roush, talk-show host Bill O'Reilly of "The O'Reilly Factor," who had featured Mrs. Roush's plight on his show months ago, was arranging a follow-up story in which his producer would interview the two sisters.

Ironically, as Mr. Burton's delegation was arriving in Saudi Arabia, the two Roush daughters, with their father, husbands and family members, flew to London to meet with Miss Hocheiser of Fox News.

On the Sept. 5 "O'Reilly Factor," Miss Hocheiser reported that the two sisters, who were not allowed to speak on camera, told her "that they're adults now, they're free to do whatever they want but they had no interest to go to the U.S."

When Miss Hocheiser asked if they wanted to see their mother "just for a little while," the women declined, saying, "This is over too many years have gone by."

They also didn't ask about coming to the United States with either Miss Hocheiser or an U.S. Embassy official they met.

Mr. O'Reilly concluded in an essay on Worldnetdaily.com that although his program succeeded in pressuring the Saudis to produce the sisters, it was obvious they are "brainwashed" and "are not going to fight for their freedom."

The daughters are never coming back, Mr. O'Reilly said, because "freedom cannot be imposed."

Associated Press reporter Donna Abu-Nasr also met with the sisters in London during the same weekend. The sisters told her that they were proud to be Saudi women and feared being kidnapped by their mother.

Mrs. Roush and Wall Street Journal editorial writer William McGurn have lambasted Mr. O'Reilly for "sabotaging" Mr. Burton's efforts and being an unwitting pawn in a Saudi public-relations plan.

Mr. O'Reilly has retorted that his show "dictated our terms" for the interview and that Mr. Burton's office told him they didn't want to meet with the sisters.

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