Thursday, 12 September 2019 15:12

Saudi princess gets suspended jail in France over beaten workman

The only daughter of Saudi Arabia's King Salman has been found guilty by a Paris court of charges that she ordered her bodyguard to detain and strike a plumber for taking photos at the Saudi royal family's apartment in the French capital.

Prosecutors alleged that Princess Hassa bint Salman became enraged when she saw the plumber Ashraf Eid capturing her image in Paris, fearing the pictures could be used to harm her as the Saudi monarch's daughter and the older half-sister of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

She left France shortly after the September 2016 incident and was not present for Thursday's verdict.

She was sentenced to 10 months suspended prison sentence and $10,970 fine.

Her bodyguard, Rani Saida, was found guilty on charges of violence, sequestration and theft.

What happened in 2016?

Eid was working on the seventh floor of the luxury apartment block owned by the Saudi royals on Avenue Foch, a favourite destination of foreign millionaires in Paris, when he was called to the fifth floor to repair a damaged washbasin.

He took pictures of the bathroom which he told investigators he needed to carry out his work.

Eid claims that the princess flew into a rage after he caught her reflection in a mirror on camera. She called in her bodyguard, who allegedly beat him.

Eid claimed he was also tied up and ordered to kiss the feet of the princess, who is lionised in the Saudi state-run media for her charity work and women's rights campaigning.

The plumber claimed he was allowed to leave the apartment only after several hours, during which his phone was destroyed, and that at one point the princess shouted: "Kill him, the dog, he doesn't deserve to live."

A warrant for the princess's arrest was issued in France on December 2017.

'Arabs want photos'

Appearing in court in July, Saida denied hitting Eid, despite marks on the complainant's wrists and bruises on his face for which he was granted a five-day work stoppage.

The bodyguard, who accompanies the princess on her travels in Europe and the United States, was the only one of the three protagonists present for the trial.

"When I heard the princess cry for help, I came and saw them gripping the phone," he told the court, referring to the princess and the workman.

"I grabbed him and overpowered him: I did not know his intentions," he said of Eid, adding that during his 20 years of service for the royal family he had come across other "stories like that".

"The Arabs want photos and the princess is someone who is very important for them," he said, suggesting that the plumber wanted to sell his photographs.

The defence lawyers have questioned Eid's credibility, arguing that he could not have been so traumatised if he came back to the residence after a few days with a bill for 21,000 euros.

TRT World

 

 

 

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