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French Court Convicts Saudi Princess in Assault Case

Mr. Saïdi was detained for over two months, but Princess Hassa was released after several hours, and returned to Saudi Arabia. She has not appeared in court in France since then, despite an arrest warrant that the French authorities issued in December 2017.

Only Mr. Saïdi testified at the trial, which was held in July and relied mostly on conflicting testimonies, given the absence of visual evidence. An employee of the princess destroyed Mr. Eid’s phone, and there was no surveillance video.

At the trial, Mr. Saïdi denied being violent with the contractor or threatening him, despite bruises on Mr. Eid’s wrists and face.

“When I heard the princess cry out for help, I arrived, I saw them holding hands, with the telephone,” Mr. Saïdi told the court, adding that he had then grabbed the contractor, according to French news reports at the time.

“I didn’t know his intentions,” Mr. Saïdi told the court, arguing that he had feared that any pictures would be used in the tabloid press against the princess.

Lawyers for Princess Hassa expressed “indignation” after the verdict and said they would appeal.

Emmanuel Moyne, a lawyer for Princess Hassa, said that his client had neither witnessed nor ordered any violence, and that her conviction “rests solely on the unfounded and even false allegations of the plaintiff, who didn’t even come to support them on the day of the trial.”

Mr. Moyne said in a telephone interview that Mr. Eid would have known that the princess was a particularly private person who made it clear that she did not want any pictures taken of her.

“Being in a temporary residence with someone who holds up their mobile phone towards her, and then realizing that videos were taken behind her back — yes, it was particularly shocking,” he said.

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