A French court on Thursday handed a 10-month suspended sentence to a sister of the Saudi crown prince over the beating of a workman at a luxury residence in Paris in 2016.
Hassa bint Salman, a daughter of King Salman and sister of the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had been charged with instructing her bodyguard to beat up a plumber.
Tried in absentia and the target of an arrest warrant since December 2017, she was also ordered by the Paris court to pay a 10,000-euro ($11,000) fine.
The princess, 42, had never shown up at the trial, which got underway in July.
The punishment was heavier than demanded by prosecutors, who had sought a six-month suspended sentence and a fine of 5,000 euros ($5,480).
The princess, whose brother is known by his initials MBS and is seen as the kingdom’s de facto ruler, was accused of instructing her bodyguard Rani Saidi to beat up Ashraf Eid after he was seen taking pictures inside her home in September 2016.
She had been charged with complicity in an act of intentional violence, complicity in illegal confinement and complicity in theft.
Saidi, who was the only protagonist in the case present in court, was handed an eight-month suspended sentence and a 5,000-euro fine, in line with the recommendations of prosecutors.
Eid was working on the seventh floor of the luxury apartment block owned by the Saudi royals on Avenue Foch, a favorite destination of foreign millionaires in Paris, when he was called to the fifth floor to repair a damaged wash basin.
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 lionized in the Saudi state-run media for her charity work and women’s rights campaigning.
The plumber claimed that 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.”
The case is the latest blow to the image of the kingdom, where Prince Mohammed sparked hopes of major social and economic reform when he was elevated to crown prince in 2017.
But his reputation was badly damaged by the murder of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul last year, and he is also seen as the driving force in the Saudi military intervention in Yemen, where tens of thousands have died.
© 2019 AFP
Trump-loving GOP candidate faces more trouble as his Ukraine ranting provokes a defamation suit
A pro-Trump aspiring politician who was named in documents released by an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani is being sued by a Dutch Trump supporter for defamation, the Hartford Courant reports.
Robert F. Hyde reportedly made the alleged defamatory comments during an interview with a local news station, where he discussed the documents alleging he was involved in some sort of surveillance operation of Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. WhatsApp messages appeared to show that Hyde was sending updates on Yovanovitch's whereabouts to Lev Parnas, a former associate of Giuliani who is now under indictment for campaign finance violations.
BUSTED: These 10 GOP senators said Ukraine quid pro quo was a red line before Bolton bombshell
The Washington Post's Philip Bump has tracked down statements from ten different Republican senators who in the past indicated that impeachment charges against President Donald Trump would be far more serious if it could be proven there was a quid-pro-quo agreement that involved exchanging the release of foreign aid to Ukraine for the investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.
All of the statements flagged by Bump came before this week's bombshell revelation that former national security adviser John Bolton's upcoming book will reportedly say the president directly linked Ukraine aid to the Biden investigation.
Law professor slams Trump team’s ‘distortions of facts’ as they try to shoot down congressional subpoenas
Writing for The Atlantic, University of Missouri Law professor Frank Bowman excoriated the White House legal team for their rationale against honoring congressional subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry.
"On Saturday, Trump’s lawyer Pat Philbin tried to extinguish any flickers of enlightened self-interest among Republicans by arguing that Trump was entitled to stonewall the House because the House hadn’t properly authorized its own subpoenas," wrote Bowman. "Like so many contentions of the president’s defenders, this is malarkey thinly draped with plausible-sounding distortions of facts, rules, court opinions, and the Constitution itself."