Rape Case Dismissed Against Saudi Prince (Who Also Happens To Be One Of The World’s Richest Men)

A Spanish court dismissed a rape case against a Saudi prince and billionaire, after it was decided there was not sufficient evidence to press charges. Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, 57, the nephew of King Abdullah, had been accused of raping a Spanish model on a yacht owned by the Saudi royal family off the island of Ibiza in August 2008. The prince claimed he had not been in Ibiza at the time and had in fact been in France with his family, which dozens of witnesses can allegedly confirm, his lawyers claim. It does not seem to be in dispute that the then-20-year-old woman was attacked, however. She sent a text message to a friend on the night of the alleged attack saying she thought her drink had been spiked;  when the victim was examined afterwards, her urine contained a sleep-inducing tranquilizer and semen. Apparently that DNA evidence has never been tested against the prince’s DNA. The victim claims that the case — which was already dismissed once before by a lower court for lack of evidence — is not being handled with due seriousness because the man she has accused is one of the richest, most powerful men in the world with stakes in NewsCorp and CitiGroup.

Just from reading news stories about the incident, I’m inclined to believe  Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal may indeed be innocent: apparently he was in France at the time of alleged attack, which is backed up by his passport, cell phone records, photographs, video, and eyewitness accounts, according to CNN. The prince’s lawyers have also claimed people try to impersonate him. He now pursuing criminal charges against the woman and her lawyer.

What my focus is on is the fact that no one seems to dispute this woman was drugged and awoke during the alleged rape, apparently on a Saudi royal family yacht. That’s terribly disconcerting because, I really doubt the Saudi royal family is lax about security. So, how did the alleged rapist have access to the Saudi royal family yacht? Is he an employee? A friend? A friend-of-the-friend? I am not suggesting there has specifically been a cover-up — again, I am not an expert on this case— but the victim may have a point that her rape is not being taken seriously because it involves the rich and powerful. (How rich and powerful? This photo is of the prince and his wife at William and Kate’s wedding.)

This crime cannot die here. Much of the news coverage of the incident has focused on Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and his claims of innocence. Now that that has been basically established, it’s time to ask: then who did do it and why aren’t they being punished? 



[New York Times]

Contact the author of this post at [email protected] Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.

Image via Getty