Skip to comments.Saudi princess is jailed
Posted on 12/18/2001 1:10:21 AM PST by grimalkin
A Saudi princess was arrested at a luxury Orlando resort Monday night and charged with beating her servant and pushing the woman down a flight of stairs.
Princess Buniah al-Saud, niece of King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, was booked into the Orange County Jail on a charge of aggravated battery of her Indonesian maid, Memet Ismiyati.
The princess is being held without bond and was to appear before a judge today. If found guilty of the charge, a second-degree felony, the princess could receive up to 15 years in prison.
The arrest of the princess, who was said by the Saudi Embassy in Washington to have diplomatic immunity, could further strain U.S.-Saudi relations, which have cooled considerably since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Saudi royal family has been reluctant to act on a U.S. request to freeze funds belonging to terrorist organizations. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's vast wealth stems from a Saudi construction company started by his father.
But the princess's royal connections did not sway Orange County sheriff's officials.
"When we talked to her [Ismiyati] through an Indonesian interpreter and saw the extent of her injuries, we upgraded the charges to a felony," said Orange County Undersheriff Malone Stewart.
Stewart said he had "triple-checked" with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and been told that the 41-year-old princess had not notified the agency of her plans, leaving her without diplomatic immunity.
"As it stands, there is no diplomatic immunity, regardless of who she is related to," Stewart said. "She did not file her agenda with INS, so since she didn't follow our protocol, we are contacting the State Department."
The princess's problems started Friday afternoon when Ismiyati ran crying from the south Orange County apartment the two women shared. The princess has been living in Orlando while studying English at the University of Central Florida. Neighbors at Towne Place Apartments called 911 for Ismiyati.
Through an interpreter, Ismiyati, 36, told deputies that al-Saud had pushed her into a wall, causing her to strike her head. Ismiyati said she then tumbled down stairs, injuring her right knee.
Ismiyati told investigators that the princess pushed her constantly and threatened to send her back to Saudi Arabia, where she could be jailed. The deputies' report said the maid told them she "couldn't take it anymore."
When deputies went to her apartment Friday afternoon, the princess denied striking or pushing the maid.
Paramedics took Ismiyati to Florida Hospital Kissimmee in Osceola County, where she was treated and released.
Sue Shever, a friend of the princess who went to the jail late Monday, said al-Saud and the maid had been feuding about stolen property. Shever is director of ASPECT International Language Academies at the University of Central Florida.
Stewart said Ismiyati was reluctant to press charges. However, she changed her mind Monday evening when she was interviewed for a second time and investigators saw the full extent of her injuries.
Meanwhile, the princess had checked into the Grand Cypress Resort near Walt Disney World, a favorite hotel of Middle Eastern royalty. She was arrested there Monday night. Stewart said that an internal investigation had also been launched because deputies contacted the Saudi Embassy directly without going through the State Department as dictated by protocol.
Deputies were unable to reach officials at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington.
This is not the first time that a Saudi princess has run into trouble in Orange County regarding the beating of a servant.
In 1995, Princess Maha al-Sudairi, wife of the heir to the throne, pummeled her driver, a man named Hamada whom she suspected of taking $200,000.
When al-Sudairi found out about the missing money, she threw a vase or potted plant at Hamada and then screamed and hit him, investigators said.
Deputies working off-duty at the time watched as the princess removed a sandal and beat Hamada, then punched him. The deputies did not report the battery.
Hamada later confessed to taking the money, and several deputies were disciplined in the incident.
As for the current princess in trouble with the law, Stewart said State Department officials want to talk to her.
"It doesn't matter who she's related to," he said. "This lady is not here lawfully."
oh great, they're still getting thru illegally; and how many more????
I wish she did that to me. I would sue her for all the oil in Toweli Headia.
who wants the right foot?
I thought that the Kennedys had the market on that statement
If we don't quit our dependence on oil we will have to DEAL with these horrible classless individuals. I say let's have electric cars, and alternative energy sources...
...isn't a likely social or economical solution to this situation.
Electric cars are mandated in CA. Yet how many do you actually see on the streets?
Alternate fuels, such as ethanol, are being pushed by corn belt state lawmakers. Yet other than a few utility and government vehicles, how many dual-fuel hybrid engines and refeuling stations do you see in the Midwest?
Weaning our industrial and social base from oil-based to "alternate" energy supply basis is a pipe dream foisted upon us by the emotions of a few well-connected (but 'well-intentioned') environmentalists that are great at hurling out calls about where we should be, but have never spent one minute or one dime to explain or demonstrate how we can get there.
Since this is the way they (Indonesian men) treat their women, they'll not see a problem.
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