Saudi Royal Princes Don’t Have Affluenza

Saudi Royal Loses Freedom After Killing Manservent

Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Nasir, a grandson of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah was jailed in 2010 for killing Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz, his manservant, while staying at an upscale London hotel. Based on reports, several hotel security videos captured Price Saud violently assaulting Bandar Abdulaziz while in the hotel corridor.

On February 15th, 2010, Prince Saud, is said to have beat and strangled Bandar Abdulaziz, after a night out drinking champagne and cocktails. Bandar Abdulaziz suffered a head injury, severe neck injury consistent with strangulation, and bite marks on his cheeks.

There have been accusations regarding the relationship between the Prince and his manservant, and that is a key theme of the many articles that have been released on this story. However, their potential “relationship” isn’t really important and certainly doesn’t protect the privacy of the dead man or his family. The only concern “the relationship” has in the Prince’s situation is that homosexual activity is a “bad act” in the fundamental Wahabi Islam that is followed in Saudi Arabia. If he were to return home to be tried under Sharia Law, he would have faced two counts – murder and homosexuality.

SaudiArabia SaudAbdulaziz
Bandar AbdulAziz

When the Prince was arrested, he profoundly denied any wrong doing related to having an inappropriate relationship with Bandar Abdulaziz. However, he apparently had no problem admitting to the fact that he did lose control and murder the manservant. The reason he so easily admitted to the crime was he was certain he was afforded diplomatic immunity; however, after checking, British police were able to determine that he had no immunity at all.

Upon hearing the case, a British jury convicted Prince Saud to life in prison where he has been since 2010. Under a negotiated two-way agreement between Saudi Arabia and Britain, nationals from either country may serve sentences out in their own country. This agreement is a win-win for both countries, culturally and economically. In the case of Prince Saud, a negotiated move of prison residence was agreed to. The plan is that Saud will be forced to serve out at least 20 years to life in a Saudi prison

On Monday, December 30th, 2013 Britain’s Ministry of Justice confirmed, “the 36-year-old royal flew back to Saudi Arabia after he was granted a transfer to a prison in his homeland.” The ministry spokeswomen said, “We have a prison transfer arrangement with Saudi Arabia with allows nationals of either country to serve their prison sentence in their home state.” How will the Prince fare in a Saudi prison? That is to be seen.

King Abdullah Approves Possible Death Penalty For Saudi Royal

SaudiArabia Salman bin Abdull aziz December 9, 2013
Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Another Saudi Prince in trouble for murdering a fellow Saudi is facing execution. Under Sharia Law, he will face execution, unless the parents of the murdered individual agree to pardon (usually accepting blood money). In this case, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia “cleared the way for the possible execution of the Prince who was charged with murdering a Saudi citizen.” This was done through a decree from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who is the sixth king of Saudi Arabia.

In a forward thinking statement, Crown Prince Salman said “Shariah [law] shall be applied to all without exception. There is no difference between big and small, rich and poor. The powerful are weak before God’s law until others get their rights from them while the weak are powerful until their rights are protected … Nobody is allowed to interfere with the judiciary’s decision. This is the tradition of this State. We are committed to following the Sharia.” In other words, unless the blood money is accepted, the Prince will be executed.

The victim’s father also issued a statement saying he was not ready to pardon the Prince for his crime. He stated “the reconciliation committee was not fair to him.” The reconciliation committee’s role is to negotiate between the accused and the victim’s family. He also said he “was not satisfied with the amount of blood money offered by killers as a means to avoid the death penalty.” The only thing that will save the Prince under sharia law now is the victim’s father.

Here are the possibilities for the victim’s father:

  1. Decides to change his mind and accept the blood money prior to the execution; which would free the Prince immediately upon exchanging the money. It has been said that “blood money” offerings have got as high as $11 million USD in some cases.
  2. Attends the execution and gives a “thumbs up or thumbs down” to the executioner. Should he decide to pardon the Prince, he can give a thumbs down and the execution process will stop and the Prince will be pardoned.

Royals Behaving Badly Beware

Saudi Arabia Dira Square
Dira Square, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Also known as Chop Chop Square by Expats

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been criticized for their human rights track record, particularly for the high number of executions, inconsistencies in the application of the laws, and use of public beheading to carry out death sentences. Amnesty International’s website indicates Saudi Arabia executed 82 people in 2011. As of December 29th, 2013, Saudi Arabia had 79 executions on their record according to Arabian Business.

The “new” decree from Crown Prince Bandar that “there is no difference between big and small, rich and poor… This is the tradition of this State. We are committed to following the Sharia,” is a reminder that everyone is subject to the same sharia law in Saudi Arabia. Even those that have royal blood. Some of the most common crimes are murder, rape, false prophecy, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft, and sorcery; and can be carried out by beheading with a sword, or more rarely by firing squad, and sometimes by stoning.

There have been other Royals who have been found guilty of a crime that resulted in execution in Saudi Arabia, most notably a Princess who was found to have committed adultery in 1977 at the age of 19 years old. Princess Misha’al bint Fahd was the granddaughter Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz, who was an older brother of then King Khalid. The young princess met her love. Khaled al-Sha’er Mulhallal, while away at school in Lebanon. He was the son of the Saudi Ambassador. When they returned to Saudi Arabia, they were caught meeting secretively having an affair. After trying to fake her own drowning and trying to leave the country, both Princess Misha and Khaled were arrested. Under sharia law they were tried for adultery and on July 15, 1977 they were executed.

Although it is unlikely that Saudi Arabia is not going to walk away from their strict Islamic roots and sharia law, it does appear that they have determined they will apply the rules fairly across all people in Saudi Arabia. Regardless of your station (poor or rich), regardless of your nationality (Saudi or Other), regardless of your position (royal, working, woman or servant) … All Saudi laws apply to all.

Kimberly Jones is a global nomad with a special interest in the Middle East and North Africa. She grew up in Saudi Arabia and traveled throughout the MENA growing deeply attached to the people and the culture.