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Saudi Septuplets Homecoming Delayed

April 4, 1998

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ The parents of Saudi septuplets have separated because of the publicity generated by the births, further delaying their babies’ homecoming, the father said Saturday.

Abdullah Mohammad Ali said pictures of his wife appeared in Saudi magazines and on Arab satellite TV channels seen in the kingdom _ and angered his in-laws so much that they are refusing to allow their 40-year-old daughter to return to her husband’s home.

Tradition in the conservative southern city of Abha, where the septuplets were born Jan. 14, dictates that women must cover their faces in public.

``Her family says I am not a worthy husband because I have allowed everyone to see my wife. They say I have besmirched my wife’s honor,″ Ali said in a telephone interview from his home. ``I will not be able to bring the children home until my wife gets back.″

In photographs and video transmitted last month by The Associated Press and by Associated Press Television, Ali and his wife, Hasna Mohammad Humair, were shown with their seven babies at an Abha hospital.

Humair wore a high-necked, long-sleeved, floor-length dress. A veil covered her hair _ but not her face.

She gave birth to the four boys and three girls _ only the third set of septuplets known to have been born alive _ after taking fertility drugs to regulate her menstrual cycle.

She has said she will not bring the babies home until she finds a nanny to help care for them. Humair, who has seven children besides the septuplets, goes to the hospital daily to see and nurse the newborns. They have been ready to go home since last month.

Ali, 55, says he wants the media to stop showing pictures of his wife.

``I am constantly being insulted by my brothers-in-law and other family members,″ he says. ``I don’t want any more pictures of my wife to appear anywhere. I just want my pride back,″ said the retired civil defense employee.

Another set of septuplets was born in Saudi Arabia in September 1997, but only one child lived. In November, Bobbi McCaughey gave birth in Iowa to seven children, all of whom survived.

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