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Saudi Princess Hessa bint Salman found guilty of ordering plumber's beating in Paris

Paris — The only daughter of Saudi Arabia's King Salman has been found guilty by a Paris court of charges that she ordered her bodyguard to detain and strike a plumber for taking photos at the Saudi royal family's apartment in the French capital. Prosecutors alleged that Princess Hessa bint Salman became enraged when she saw the plumber capturing her image in Paris, fearing the pictures could be used to harm her as the Saudi monarch's daughter and the older half-sister of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

She left France shortly after the September 2016 incident and was not present for Thursday's verdict. Her whereabouts are not confirmed, but it is widely expected that she has returned to Saudi Arabia. She was sentenced to 10 months suspended prison sentence and a 10,000 euro ($10,970) fine.

Her bodyguard, Rani Saida, was found guilty on charges of violence, sequestration and theft.

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 lionized in the Saudi state-run media for charity work and women's rights campaigning.

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.  Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via Reuters

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."

The princess's half-brother Prince Mohammed sparked hopes of major social and economic reform in Saudi Arabia when he was elevated to be his father's heir in 2017. But his reputation was badly damaged by the murder of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi.

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

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