A young Saudi woman has begged a Yemeni court to allow her to stay in the country and marry the man she loves.
In a case which has been compared to the plight of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, Huda al-Niran, 22, defied her family and crossed the border illegally to be with Arafat Mohammed Tahar, 25.
She has appeared in court and pleaded to be allowed to stay, as her supporters demonstrated outside the Sanaa courthouse, sporting headbands proclaiming 'We are all Huda.'
he plight of the two lovers' has gripped audiences in deeply conservative Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Huda has defied both the wishes of her family, who said she could not marry Tahar, and also dared to flee the country and follow him to Yemen.
In court, she refused to accept a lawyer provided by the Saudi embassy, fearing pressure to return home.
He indicated that Sanaa had come under pressure from the Saudi authorities to ensure Huda's return.
She is currently under arrest and on trial for illegal entry. If found guilty, she faces expulsion.
No decision was announced on Sunday, and the court set the next hearing for December 1 as it awaited a UN High Commissioner for Refugees ruling on a request for asylum.
A UNHCR representative confirmed to AFP that Huda had initiated proceedings to be granted refugee status in Yemen.
If she succeeds, it will be difficult for the authorities in Yemen to expel her.
Huda's case has also come to the attention of the New York-based Human Rights Watch.
On November 19, HRW urged Yemen not to repatriate her and to take into consideration the fact that returning to her family could put her life at risk.
She fears physical harm from her family members, whom she said have beaten her in the past, if she is returned to Saudi Arabia,' HRW ' said in a statement.