Saudi princess arrested in Orlando for beating her maid.
December 19, 2001 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Saudi princess arrested in Orlando for beating her maid. Should she have diplomatic immunity, as the Saudi Embassy claims, or should she face the consequences of American law because the Saudi Embassy did not follow proper procedure by notifying the INS about her status?
posted by Rastafari (19 comments total)
At minimum, the "princess" should be deported, never allowed to return.

Since she's not the first Saudi princess to beat her help and be charged with a crime, 'ignorance of the law' hardly seems to be a valid defense.

Although it seems appalling to let this go, I think it has to be, unless we're willing to let US citizens be stoned , whipped, or whatever for crimes in Saudi Arabia like sex outside of marriage.

Perhaps we need to change our laws for diplomats so that we clearly say that physical violence is a crime that will lead to deportation and possible conviction in US courts. Then other countries can respond as the would like.
posted by Red58 at 3:14 PM on December 19, 2001

Are royalty really foreign diplomats? I think not. Is it like Bush's daughters going to Saudi Arabia and shooting someone? hrm...If they are not a real part of the governing body, I think we have some definitions to reconsider.
posted by wantwit at 3:42 PM on December 19, 2001

I agree -- this isn't even really a dilemma. She's not officially a diplomat, end of story. She should get whatever rap's coming to her.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:00 PM on December 19, 2001

If America is willing to take American justice to Afghan civilians in the quest for bin Laden, it should be ready to dole it out to whomever happens to do wrong on their soil. Basically, any notion of protection by soveriegn border has been dismissed by the GW-appointed right to implement American justice on any nation, so why play the diplomat game anymore? It's obsolete in the current mode of thinking about laws and borders.
posted by holycola at 4:59 PM on December 19, 2001

holycola, you're missing a very big point in this whole thing: when you visit another country for ANY amount of time you are bound to live by their laws. She is not a diplomat, neither am i; she has no political position in being here, neither would i (in saudi arabia, even if Bush was my uncle). I really think diplomatic immunity needs to be rethought anyway; our laws in the states are not so farfetched to not be compliable by foreign persons although other country's regulations may be so for us. yet we still do our best. I hope she has a good lawyer...
posted by wantwit at 5:38 PM on December 19, 2001

funny, i can't find any mention of this on
posted by th3ph17 at 6:20 PM on December 19, 2001

Are royalty really foreign diplomats?

In a word, yes. The legal principle is called derivative immunity, falling under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Right or wrong, we (the U.S.) respect international standards for diplomatic immunity. The relatives of rulers from countries where governing legitimacy is based on heredity can reasonably be considered diplomats by other nations in the same manner as those appointed plenipotentiaries from countries where rule is based upon plebiscite.

The alternative to this position, as red58 points out, is to accept the stoning of a female diplomat in Saudi Arabia if she were to committed adultery.

Given these civilized standards, the Princess should be summarily booted out of the United States forthwith (forced to fly coach, of course).
posted by dchase at 7:47 PM on December 19, 2001

after Ismiyati, 36, ran crying from the apartment she shared with the princess. She told deputies al-Saud beat her, hit her head against a wall and pushed her down a flight of stairs, leaving her unable to walk.
Bwah hah hah! If I had a stupid, lying servant I'd beat her too.
posted by Catch at 8:10 PM on December 19, 2001

That looks more like bad writing, not a lie. How about "She hit me, and banged my head against the wall, then pushed me down the stairs. I tried to get up, I tried to walk or run to get away, but I couldn't." Thoughtful translation: "At the time of the altercation, I was too stunned and in too much pain to be able to get up and get away. Once the pain had subsided and I'd regained my strength, I fled as quickly as possible for help." Stupid reporter translation: See quote, above.
posted by Dreama at 8:36 PM on December 19, 2001

posted by Catch at 8:44 PM on December 19, 2001

Hey Catch, did you miss this from the article:

"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.

Do you think maybe it was the interpreter who got the quote wrong? Not to mention the fact that the police officers, based on his own observations of her injuries, upgraded the charges to felony. Does that sound like she's lying? I'd say read carefully before calling someone, especially a maid, a stupid, lying servant whom you beat up as well why don't you pick on someone you own size, ya big bully...
posted by Rastafari at 9:00 PM on December 19, 2001

Now, now, Rastafari, you're hysterical!

Just out of interest, why "especially a maid"?

Quip no more, Mefi hath murdered flippancy.
posted by Catch at 9:04 PM on December 19, 2001

If flippancy over a beaten and severely injured woman -- wench though she be -- has been murdered indeed, I say 'tis a right murder and goodly too for all who dwell within. Let flipsayers hold their barb'd tongues, forsaking malice upon the too oft' maligned chamber minions.
posted by Dreama at 9:16 PM on December 19, 2001

Perhaps we need to change our laws for diplomats so that we clearly say that physical violence is a crime that will lead to deportation and possible conviction in US courts.

Why just physical violence? The point of immunity is knowing that you can send an important and trusted person off to another country and expect them back. Its an old tradition that protects diplomats from being falsely accused of crimes, beaten or tortured for information, held as trading chips, etc. Without this guarantee relations between rival countries would be hampered.

I don't think its at all out-dated as someone suggested. I don't know why someone would think that the world's governments are more stable or more moral now than in the past.
posted by skallas at 9:16 PM on December 19, 2001

Just out of interest, why "especially a maid"?

Because, as Neil Young said, " A Man Needs a Maid." Just kidding. Anyway, I should have said a foreign maid who, besides not speaking any english, is totally dependent upon her employer, and the employer is physically abusing her thinking, knowing, she won't face any consequences because of who she is.

I don't know if you're aware, but in Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, etc., there are literally thousands of cases of maid/servants abuse, ranging from physical abuse, to rape and in some cases, murder. Unfortunately for the servants, who 100% of the time are foreigners (usually from India, Pakistan, Philippians, or Indonesia, among others), they have no rights at all, and most of the times, no action is taken against their abuser, who are mostly their employer. They (the employers) may get away with it there, but they shouldn't get away with it here, diplomatic immunity or no diplomatic immunity.

But getting back to my original point, do you think your comments about her lying ought to be directed against the interpreter, if that? What about the police officers' own observations about her injuries?
posted by Rastafari at 9:20 PM on December 19, 2001

Earnest Youth have much to say
they will change the world some day
Off-the-cuff is old and grey
He lights a cigar and strolls away
posted by Catch at 9:39 PM on December 19, 2001

It looks as though the Indonesian maid will have her day in court. Suryono, 36, who had been named in police reports as Memet Ismiyati, is seeking more than $15,000 in damages for the emotional and physical abuse she alleges she suffered at the hands al-Saud, and for back pay she said the princess owes her, court records show.

The question is, will the princess shielded from any civil action as well, or is it all predicated upon whether she has immunity?

Also, there's some new development:
Al-Saud, the niece of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, was arrested Monday night on charges she beat Suryono on Friday and pushed her down a flight of stairs. On Tuesday, the princess was accused of stealing from her former driver and selling his TV and other property for $6,000.

So besides beating up her maid, the princess has been stealing from her driver. Hey Catch, want to beat up the driver as well?
posted by Rastafari at 9:47 PM on December 19, 2001

The problem with diplomatic immunity for all members of the Saudi royal family, is that that family is huge, with an estimated 6,000 princes alone. That's a lot of people with diplomatic immunity, from just one country. And, dammit, America has no native royalty to get the same treatment.

do Jewish-American Princesses count? how about Kennedys? Nixon's dog?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:20 PM on December 19, 2001

dchase, your "yes" link to my "Are royalty really foreign diplomats?" is almost wholly inapplicable to the dilemma. The dilemma is in this case it's not about customer service but basically an alleged human rights violation.
posted by wantwit at 11:21 PM on December 19, 2001

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