Saudi princess sentenced for plumber kidnapping in Paris

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Reuters

Image caption

Princess Hassa is the sister of Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince

A Saudi princess has received a 10-month suspended sentence over the beating and kidnapping of a plumber in her luxury Paris apartment.

Hassa bint Salman is the 43-year-old sister of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and daughter of King Salman.

She is accused of telling her bodyguard to beat up a plumber who allegedly took photos inside her home.

Ashraf Eid said the guard bound him and forced him to kiss the princess’s feet.

On Thursday, a French court found the princess guilty of complicity to violence with a weapon and complicity to kidnap.

  • Who is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed?
  • Why Saudi Arabia matters to the West

The princess – who was the subject of an international arrest warrant and was tried in absentia – was also ordered to pay a 10,000 euro (£8,900) fine. She has previously denied the charges against her.

Her bodyguard, Rani Saidi, received an eight-month suspended sentence and a 5,000 euro (£4,460) fine.

What happened?

In September 2016, Mr Eid was called to the fifth floor of the luxury apartment block on Avenue Foch in the French capital to fix a damaged wash basin.

The Egyptian workman said he took photos of the bathroom which he needed for his work.

But the princess was allegedly enraged to see her reflection captured in the mirror. The indictment said she called Mr Saidi who then beat and bound Mr Eid.

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AFP/Getty

Image caption

The incident took place at a luxury apartment on Avenue Foch in Paris

The plumber said he was forced to kiss her feet and was not allowed to leave for several hours.

At one point the princess allegedly yelled: “Kill him, the dog, he doesn’t deserve to live.”

Mr Saidi told the court in July he heard the princess cry for help and rushed in to see her and Mr Eid gripping the phone.

“I seized (him) and overpowered him, I didn’t know what he was after,” he said, and suggested the plumber wanted to sell the images. Taking photos of the princess is illegal under Saudi law.

Defence lawyers had questioned why Mr Eid returned to the residence in the following days with a bill for 21,000 euros.

Who is Princess Hassa?

In Saudi state media, Princess Hassa is hailed for her charity work and advocacy for women’s rights.

She is reported to have left France shortly after the incident. The princess had been questioned about the allegations.

A French judge issued an arrested warrant in March 2018, forcing her to stay in Saudi Arabia.

Her lawyer, Emmanuel Moyne, reportedly said during the trial that she had offered to appear in court via Skype.

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