A French court on Thursday found the daughter of Saudi Arabia's King Salman guilty of ordering her bodyguard to detain and beat a plumber three years ago during renovations of her luxury apartment in Paris.
The 43-year old Hassa bint Salman Al Saud was given a 10-month suspended sentence along with fine worth €10,000 (Rs 7.8 lakh). An international arrest warrant was issued against her and she was sentenced in absentia as the Saudi Princess reportedly left the country shortly after the incident took place in 2016.
She was charged for being guilty of armed violence and complicity to illegal confinement. Her bodyguard Rani Saidi, who carried out her orders, was charged with violence, illegal confinement and theft, and was given an eight-month suspended sentence along with a fine of €5,000 (Rs 3.9 Lakh). Only Saidi appeared for the trial.
The workman, Ashraf Eid, who is an Egyptian-born French citizen told investigators that he was called to repair a washbasin at the luxury apartment owned by the Saudi royal family near the Champs Elysee in Paris. While he was taking pictures, which he claimed were to monitor his work, one of the pictures caught the reflection of Hassa.
The princess, after realising that a picture of her was taken, called her bodyguard and ordered him to take away Eid's phone and tie his wrists. The workman stated that after he was beaten by the bodyguard, Hassa ordered him to kiss her feet in apology.
He said that Saidi threatened him with a gun and gave him two choices: "Kiss the princess's feet or risk further assault," reported CNN.
According to Eid's account of the event, the Saudi princess also reportedly shouted, "You're all the same, bastards, dogs. You'll see how you should speak to a princess, how one should speak to the royal family."
Eid said that he was freed several hours later and his phone was destroyed.
After he was released from the apartment, he complained about the incident to the police. According to reports, Hassa was released after the police interrogated her for two hours. Three days later, she left the country.
Hassa's lawyer Emmanuel Moyne stated that the princess was innocent. "This sentence is backed by no concrete proof but rests solely on the unfounded, even mendacious, allegations made by the plaintiff who didn't even turn up himself to the trial to support them," The Guardian quoted him as saying.
"The princess was not present at any scene of violence nor did she order any act of violence ... No evidence proves that the plaintiff was deprived of his freedom to come and go, especially not on the orders of the princess," added Moyne.
Hassa's bodyguard Saidi had told the court in July that he had heard the princess cry for help and saw Eid and Hassa gripping the phone. "I seized (him) and overpowered him, I didn't know what he was after," he said, adding that he thought the workman wanted to sell her images, reported The New York Times.
The Saudi government have not responded to the sentence.