Monday, November 29

Saudi star escapes London jail after animal cruelty claims



A Saudi social media star has been forced to apologise after footage appearing to show a man pulling the wings off of a bird in a London hotel surfaced online.

Mansour Al Raqiba, 40, who is known in the kingdom for his Snapchat videos, was reportedly saved from potential prison time after an intervention by the Saudi Arabian embassy in London, following outrage online.

Mr Al Raqiba was accused, alongside two associates, of cruelty to animals by social media users after the video was posted to Snapchat and Twitter.

The Saudi star later said: “I apologise for this mistake. I thought that the issue would end in paying a fine. But had it not been for the embassy’s stance, the issue would have led to jail.”

The video shows one of the three men leaning over a bathtub, plucking a bird’s feathers and what appears to be its wings.

It is unclear if the bird was alive at the time. In a statement to Saudi newspaper Okaz, the country’s embassy in the UK warned its citizens to exercise caution while in foreign countries, and to familiarise themselves with that country’s customs and laws.

An embassy spokesperson said: “A visitor may make a mistake due to being unaware of regulations in the host country.”

“Unfortunately, some underestimate regulations on the pretext that a friend or a relative was not detected while committing the perpetration,” the statement added, providing no other details.

The Saudi Arabian embassy in London did not return a request for comment. Multiple attempts to reach the embassy failed.

The bird charity RSPB said that it appeared to be a case of animal abuse, directing inquiries to the RSPCA.
The RSPCA declined to comment, citing a lack of detail.

On Wednesday, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was implicated in a plot to hack Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the world’s richest man, in order to curb his coverage of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi national, was murdered by Saudi agents in a consulate in Istanbul for speaking out against the country’s autocratic ruling family.