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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Princess fined over assault claim
Princess Buniah al-Saud (right) with police guard
The princess was charged in December
A Saudi princess accused of pushing her Indonesian maid down a flight of stairs has been fined $1,000 by a Florida court.

Lawyers for Princess Buniah al-Saud, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, did not contest the battery charge brought against her in the Orlando court.

Making such a plea, the defendant does not admit or deny guilt but agrees to a punishment.

The plea marked an about-face for the 41-year-old princess, who in February promised a judge she would return to Florida for the trial, because she wanted to clear her name.

Memet Ismiyati
Memet Ismiyati said she was pushed down a flight of stairs
But Mark Schnapp, one of her lawyers, insisted: "It was a good way to resolve the case for all parties".

"Would we have preferred to go to trial in the long run? Yes. But at the end of the day, she's in Saudi Arabia. This will terminate the case at this point," he said.

The charge was brought last December by a former maid of the princess, Memet Ismiyati, who claimed she was pushed down 12 steps at their apartment.

The princess - a niece of the Saudi King Fahd - was living in Orlando at the time, while studying English at the University of Central Florida.

She was later accused of also forcing the maid to work without pay, and of stealing electronic equipment from her driver.

The princess has already settled a civil lawsuit filed by Memet Ismiyati.

She returned to live in Saudi Arabia in February with a judge's permission.

See also:

19 Dec 01 | Middle East
28 Feb 01 | Middle East
08 Dec 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
21 Dec 00 | Middle East
12 Sep 01 | Country profiles
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