A Saudi prince arrested in September on suspicion of forced oral copulation at a Beverly Hills compound will not face any felony charges.
Despite not having diplomatic immunity and being accused of raping as many as five women, Prince Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud is going almost scot-free due to “lack of evidence.”
“The allegations against him are false,” said Alan Jackson, his attorney. “The decision by the D.A.’s office not to file charges shows that the accuser’s stories cannot be substantiated. The sheik is very happy to put it behind him and move on with his life.”
The incident sparked much outrage after it was first reported last month but the decision by L.A. prosecutors to let Al-Saud off the hook has led many to question if his royal status tipped the scales of justice.
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Tourists from the Middle East, especially Arab royalty, play a huge role in boosting L.A.’s economy. Middle Easterners are in fact second to Chinese visitors when it comes to retail spending in Beverly Hills, according to Julie Wagner, chief executive of the city's Conference and Visitors Bureau.
Although not all Arab tourists are rowdy – many of them are described as “quiet” and “private” people – the ones who are found guilty of misconduct usually get away by invoking diplomatic immunity.
For instance, earlier in September, Sheik Khalid bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar's ruling family was caught on camera speeding through the streets in Beverly Hills. During investigation, al Thani tried to claim immunity. When the police said it wasn’t valid in his case, he immediately fled the country.
The Saudi government is notorious for helping its nationals escape in such cases – which is rather hypocritical considering Saudi Arabia hands down harsh punishments for violation of religious/cultural laws even if it’s as harmless a crime as possession of homemade wine.
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While Al-Saud has managed to avoid sexual assault charges he could still face a misdemeanor after the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office reviews his case.