Sunday 22 September 2019

Princess spared jail term over attack on plumber

Both defendants said they would appeal (stock photo)
Both defendants said they would appeal (stock photo)

David Chazan

The daughter of King Salman of Saudi Arabia received a 10-month suspended prison sentence yesterday for ordering her bodyguard to beat up a plumber in her Paris flat.

Princess Hassa bint Salman, the elder half-sister of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, became enraged because she thought that Asraf Eid, the plumber, had photographed her on his mobile, a French court was told.

Mr Eid said he had been taking pictures of a room so he could return furniture to the same positions when he finished his work.

"She called me a dog who didn't deserve to live, and called her bodyguard," he told the court.

Rani Saida, the bodyguard, snatched his phone, bound his hands, punched and kicked him and forced him to kiss the princess's feet, according to the plumber.

The princess (43) was sentenced in absentia.

The court found her guilty of complicity in violence, sequestration and theft of the plumber's phone. She was also fined €10,000.

Saida was given an eight-month suspended sentence and fined €5,000.

Both defendants said they would appeal.

It was not immediately clear whether the ruling would complicate relations between Paris and Riyadh.

France has nurtured close ties with Saudi Arabia but those ties have been tested by President Emmanuel Macron's determination to salvage Iran's nuclear accord, which Saudi Arabia, alongside the United States, has adamantly opposed.

The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Saudi royalty has faced legal problems in France before.

In 2013, a French court ordered that the French assets of Saudi princess Maha al-Sudairi, wife of former interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, be seized over unpaid bills at a luxury hotel totalling almost €6m.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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