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Sister of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman faces verdict in workman's beating in Paris

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talks with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) Summit in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talks with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 9, 2018.  Saudi Royal Court/Handout

The sister of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia faces a verdict Tuesday in a French trial over the alleged beating of a workman who was refurbishing her ultra-luxury apartment in Paris. Hassa bint Salman, sister of the powerful Saudi heir Mohammed bin Salman, 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, allegedly suspected the man of planning to sell the photo of her apartment on western Paris' Avenue Foch, long a favourite destination for foreign millionaires in the French capital.

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.

A "caring, humble, approachable" woman

The princess, who is subject to an arrest warrant issued in France in March 2018, was not expected to be present on Tuesday. Her whereabouts were unconfirmed, but she was likely back in Saudi Arabia.

She has been charged with complicity in armed violence, complicity in holding someone against their will, and theft.

"The princess is a caring, humble, approachable and cultured woman," French lawyer Emmanuel Moyne, who is representing the princess, said on Monday. "Saudi law, and ensuring the princess' security, prohibits taking any image of the princess."

Her bodyguard has been charged with armed violence, theft, issuing death threats and holding someone against their will.

U.N. says "credible evidence" to probe Saudi crown prince's role in Khashoggi killing

Prince Mohammed sparked hopes of major social and economic reform when he was elevated to crown prince in 2017. But his reputation has been badly damaged by the murder of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Agnes Callamard, a UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, reported "credible evidence" last month that linked him to the killing of Khashoggi, who was strangled and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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