On September 12 2019, a French court handed Saudi Arabia’s King Salman’s daughter, Hassa bint Salma, a 10-month suspended sentence for being complicit in beating up and briefly kidnapping a workman in her luxury flat Paris.
Prosecutors in the case said that Hassa had become enraged with workman Ashraf Eid after he was called to repair a damaged washbasin in a luxury apartment block owned by the Saudi royal family near the Champs Élysées in central Paris. While Eid was taking photos of the bathroom -which he claims was necessary to his work – he caught her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Realising that her image had been captured, Hassa called in her bodyguard who tied him up, punched and kicked him, and ordered him to kiss the princess’s feet.
Eid said he was only allowed to leave several hours later and that his phone was destroyed. At one point during his ordeal, he claimed that Hassa shouted, “Kill him, the dog, he doesn’t deserve to live.”
The Princess’s bodyguard, Rani Saidi, was found guilty on charges of violence, illegal confinement, and theft. He was given an eight-month suspended sentence and a 5,000 euro fine. Princess Hassa bint Salma was sentenced in abstentia, though France had issued an international warrant for her arrest. In addition to her prison sentence, she was fined 10,000 euros.
Princess Hassa is often celebrated by Saudi state-run media as a charity worker and women’s rights campaigner. She has lodged an appeal with the French courts.
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights celebrates the Rule of Law. No individual can be above the law, and ECDHR is pleased to see that in France, this principle applies even to members of the Saudi royal family. ECDHR hopes that justice will be found as legal proceedings continue.