A French judge has issued an arrest warrant for the sister of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman over claims she ordered her bodyguard to attack a worker at her Paris apartment.
Hussat ben Salmane, 44, was issued the warrant on Thursday afternoon in connection with an incident that took place in 2016, where her bodyguard allegedly attacked a plumer who had been asked to fix to an issue in her apartment on Avenue Foch.
According to AFP, the alleged assault victim had photographed the room he was asked to work on and was suspected of wanting to sell the images.
The princess’s bodyguard has already been charged in connection with the incident, where the victim claims he was tied up for several hours, punched, and forced to kiss her feet. His tools were also confiscated in the incident.
Defending himself during a hearing, the bodyguard claimed he had done the “minimum necessary” to “restrain” the workman after he was caught taking the photos.
Princess Hussat is King Salman’s only daughter out of his 11 children. She fled the country shortly after the incident, it was reported.
The news also coincides with a report from NBC News on Thursday that U.S. officials believe Salman has been hiding his mother from his father King Salman, with her whereabouts currently unknown.
Over the years, the Prince has used multiple stories for his mother’s absence, which include claims she was receiving medical treatment abroad in order to protect her from his father.
Bin Salman, who is widely seen as a reformer on Saudi Arabia’s ultra-repressive attitude towards women, is scheduled to arrive in the United States on Monday for high-level diplomatic talks as his power expands over the country.
The loosening of restrictions forms part of the Crown Prince’s modernization movement known as the “Vision 2030” economic program, which was officially approved by Saudi leadership last April.
As well as promoting economic growth, the program also intends to liberalize many of the country’s Islamic conditions. Last year, authorities legalized yoga, held the first-ever women’s basketball tournament, and made roles available for women to work in the Ministry of Justice.
However, the country’s human rights record is still far worse than many of its allies, with citizens regularly arrested and detained for crimes such as religious blasphemy, criticising the government, or dressing inappropriately.