Princess in court after love flight to US backfires

Click to follow
The Independent US

A judge in southern California has ordered a 19-year-old Bahraini princess who tried to smuggle herself into America after falling in love with a US Marine to face illegal immigration charges.

A judge in southern California has ordered a 19-year-old Bahraini princess who tried to smuggle herself into America after falling in love with a US Marine to face illegal immigration charges.

Lawyers for Meriam Al Khalifa had asked the judge to dismiss the charges and allow her to seek political asylum. She is a cousin of Bahrain's head of state, Emir Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and she would face persecution for flouting Islamic tradition if she had to return home, they said. "I can guarantee you it is not just 'Daddy is mad at me'," her lawyer, Jan Joseph Behar told reporters.

The story of Ms Al Khalifa and the Marine, Jason Johnson, began when they met by chance last summer in a shopping mall in Bahrain's capital, Manama, where he was stationed. They began a romance and late last year, as his posting in the country was ending, Marine Johnson tried to sneak his royal girlfriend home.

All seemed well when the couple boarded a commercial jet bound for Chicago, the princess dressed in baggy clothes and all-American baseball cap. But US immigration officials noticed her.

The case is drawing political attention, with Senator Barbara Boxer of California lobbying immigration officials to show leniency. Marine Johnson has already married his Princess, in Las Vegas.

Comments