The sister of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia goes on trial Tuesday in a French court over the alleged beating of a workman who was refurbishing her ultra-luxury Paris apartment.
Hassa bint Salman, sister of powerful Mohammed bin Salman who is known by his initials “MBS”, stands accused of ordering her bodyguard to beat up the workman after he was seen taking a photo inside her home in September 2016.
The princess, who denies the allegations and is not expected to be present, allegedly suspected the man of planning to sell the photo of her apartment on the Avenue Foch, long a favourite destination for foreign millionaires in western Paris.
The workman said he was tied up and ordered to kiss the feet of the princess, who is thought to be in her 40s and is lionised in the Saudi state-run media for charity work and women’s rights campaigning.
He claimed he was then beaten up and had his tools confiscated during an ordeal that lasted several hours.
In an account given to the Le Point news magazine in France, the workman reported that the princess shouted: “‘Kill him, the dog, he doesn’t deserve to live.”
A lawyer acting for the bodyguard, Yassine Bouzrou, told AFP: “We hope that the judges will take into account the numerous contradictions and incoherences of the plaintiff. The medical records contradict the version of events of the plaintiff and show that he lied.”
The bodyguard has lodged a separate case for defamation against the workman.
The princess is subject to an arrest warrant issued in France in March 2018.
She has been charged with complicity in armed violence, complicity in holding someone against their will, and theft.
Her bodyguard has been charged with armed violence, theft, issuing death threats and holding someone against their will.
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 last year.
Agnes Callamard, a UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, reported “credible evidence” last month that linked the prince to the killing of Khashoggi, who was strangled and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
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