Uncovered: Saudi princess pre-empts blackmailers, releases her own 'racy' video
Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz
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For the likes of Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, a racy video made public is the stuff that dreams are made of but if you're a member of the royal family, from perhaps the most conservative country on the planet, then the consequences are much more severe.
So when Saudi princess, Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz, had her laptop hacked in to and was subsequently blackmailed with the 'racy' footage on it, she felt she had no choice but to go public.
Although hardly a sex tape, the video does show the princess with her head uncovered, out smoking a cigarette and blowing a kiss to the cameras. In Saudi terms, it is quite the scandal.
According to British newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph, Princess Basmah, a well known moderate Muslim and human rights campaigner, said the blackmailers demanded more than £320,000 (US $500,000) not to make the footage public.
So Basmah, 48, who lives in the UK, decided to take matters into her own hands, despite the potential consequences for the mother of five.
“It is like seeing Princess Kate [the Duchess of Cambridge] with no bra. It has the same effect. And since I am a symbol – fighting for humanitarian causes and fighting corruption, and somebody with a moderate Islamic message, that would ruin everything for me with my public in Saudi Arabia,” she told the Sunday Telegraph.
The youngest daughter of King Saud, who was forced into exile after being accused of corruption, Basmah moved to London two years ago. Despite her rocky history, the Princess insists she is on good terms with the Saudi royal family and does not believe they had any involvement in the blackmailing plot.
In fact, the London-based princess told the Sunday Telegraph that she thinks she knows who is to blame for the set-up. She told the British newspaper that she was contacted by a friend on Facebook while on holiday in Scotland.
“He sent me a message saying how fascinated he is by my work, how he admired my writings and how I was a hero of the Arab world,” she said.
The princess and the 'Sheikh', as she described him, then began to correspond using video Skype calls, on which he expressed a desire to see her in person.
“He was a young man. He started getting emotional, saying he would be coming to see me and that I had to see him. He said he was very attracted to me and I started to become suspicious,” she added.
The same man later admitted to her that he was the blackmailer.
“I felt like I was physically beaten up. I felt bruised psychologically and mentally,” she told the Sunday Telegraph.
But the plot has since thickened and Basmah is now convinced that this 'Sheikh' had connections to the anonymous Twitter user, Mujtahhid, a well known Saudi intelligence insider who regularly leaks information on his Twitter account about the Saudi royal family.
“The blackmailer told me he was one of them [in Mujtahidd’s network] and he told me information to make me believe him. His is a big, huge network,” she said.
So whether the princess is involved in a giant conspiracy or just the victiim of an unfortunate Romeo, her move to make the footage public has left the ball very much in her court.
Should Princess Basmah have made the video public? Is it unseemly behavior for a Saudi princess or a lot of fuss about nothing? Tell us what you think below.
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