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Sent on Mormon-News: 27Jun01

By Kent Larsen

The Princess and Her Mormon Marine Settle in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- The Mormon Marine who fell in love with a Bahraini Princess and spirited her to the US against her family's wishes is back in the news, this time as he and the 19-year-old princess, now his wife, have decided to settle in Las Vegas. The couple told their story again to the Associated Press, and the article about them has appeared in hundreds of newspapers in the past few days.

Jason Johnson, then a Marine newly-assigned to Manama, Bahrain, met Meriam Al-Khalifa in a mall in November 1998. The couple courted in glances and whispers, talking by phone and eventually seeing a movie together in May 1999 where they kissed and were discovered by undercover police. Meriam was then forbidden from seeing Johnson, leading him to arrange for a forged Marine ID and a flight to Chicago, where the couple was discovered. Meriam then sought assylum in the US, and the couple were married in Las Vegas.

While Meriam's parents sought her return, the couple looked to publicity in the US to help her case for assylum, which was eventually granted this past May. Their story was made into a made-for-TV movie, which aired on NBC in February. Johnson was court-martialed and demoted, and eventually left the Marine Corp in a "humanitarian" discharge last October.

Now the couple have settled in Las Vegas, where Johnson has some family, and live in a rented apartment using the money they made from selling their story for the movie. They hope to attend college and start a family during the next few years.

Meriam says she doesn't regret leaving, but wishes she could have done it better. "I don't regret it," Al-Khalifa Johnson says of leaving her country. "I just regret running away. I wish I'd done it another way."

The couple is also telling their story to author Jean Sasson, who is writing a book from their story. Together with Sasson, they have formed a nonprofit organization to help oppressed women through education and through business start-up loans.


From Bahrain to Vegas: The Tale of a Marine and His Princess
Fox News (AP) 25Jun01 P2
Angie Wagner: Associated Press

See also:

Story of Mormon Marine Who Smuggled Princess to US to be NBC Movie

Marine Who Brought Bahraini Princess to US is Mormon


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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information