Faisal bin Musaid
|Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdulaziz|
|Born||Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
4 April 1944
|Died||18 June 1975(aged 31)|
|House||House of Saud|
|Cause of death||Execution by beheading|
|Known for||Regicidal Avunculicide (Assassinating King Faisal)|
Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (4 April 1944 – 18 June 1975) (Arabic: الأمير فيصل بن مساعد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود, ِ Fayṣal bin Musāʿid bin ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ʾĀl Saʿūd) was the assassin and nephew of King Al Faisal.
Faisal was born in 1944. His father was Prince Musa'id, the paternal half brother of King Faisal, and his mother was Watfa, a daughter of Muhammad bin Talal, the 12th (and last) Rashidi Emir. His parents divorced. He and his brothers and sisters were much closer to their maternal Rashidi relatives than their paternal Al Saud relatives.
In 1966, his older brother Khaled, a Wahhabist, was killed during an assault on a new television station in Riyadh. Wahhabi clerics opposed the establishment of a national television service, as they believed it immoral to produce images of humans. The details of his death are disputed. Some reports allege that he actually died resisting arrest outside his own home. No investigation over his death was ever initiated. Faisal had another brother, Bandar, and a sister, Al Jawhara. Abdul Rahman bin Musaid is his half-brother.
Faisal came to the United States in 1966 and attended San Francisco State College for two semesters studying English. Allis Bens, director of the American Language Institute at San Francisco State, said, "He was friendly and polite and very well brought up it seemed to me. I am really very surprised about this." While Faisal was at San Francisco State his brother Khaled was killed. After leaving San Francisco State College, Faisal went to the University of California at Berkeley and then to the University of Colorado at Boulder. He was described by his peers as "[a] quiet, likable, notably unstudious young man". University of Colorado Professor Edward Rozek, who had taught him in three comparative government courses, described him as "academically a D and a C student".
In 1971 he received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Colorado and then returned to the San Francisco Bay area. At the University of California at Berkeley he enrolled in graduate courses in political science, but did not receive a master's degree.
After the United States
After leaving the United States, he went to Beirut. For unknown reasons, he also went to East Germany. When he came back to Saudi Arabia, Saudi authorities seized his passport because of his troubles abroad. He began teaching at Riyadh University and kept in touch with his girlfriend, Christine Surma, who was 26 at the time of the assassination. Surma viewed the Saudi interest "in achieving peace with Israel" as positive outcomes "not available with the previous ruler King Faisal".
Assassination and trial
Royal Palace shooting
On 25 March 1975, he went to the Royal Palace in Riyadh, where King Faisal was holding a meeting, known as a majlis. He joined a Kuwaiti delegation and lined up to meet the king. The king recognized his nephew and bent his head forward, so that the younger Faisal could kiss the king's head in a sign of respect. The prince took out a revolver from his robe and shot the King twice in the head. His third shot missed and he threw the gun away. King Faisal fell to the floor. Bodyguards with swords and submachine guns arrested the prince. The king was quickly rushed to a hospital but doctors were unable to save him. Before dying, King Faisal ordered that the assassin not be executed. Saudi television crews captured the entire assassination on camera.
Imprisonment and execution
A sharia court found Faisal guilty of the king's murder on 18 June, and his public execution occurred hours later. His brother Bandar was imprisoned for one year and later released. Cars with loudspeakers drove around Riyadh publicly announcing the verdict and his imminent execution, and crowds gathered in the square. Faisal was led by a soldier to the execution point and was reported to have walked unsteadily. Wearing white robes and blindfolded, Faisal was beheaded with a single sweep of a gold handled sword. Following the execution, his head was displayed to the crowd for 15 minutes on a wooden spike, before being taken away with his body in an ambulance.
Beirut newspapers claimed involvement with drugs as a motivation in the assassination. Saudi officials began to state that the prince's actions were deliberate and planned. Rumours suggested that the prince had told his mother about his assassination plans, who in turn told King Faisal who responded that "if it was Allah's will, then it would happen". Arab media implied that the prince had been a tool of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Beirut newspapers offered three different explanations for the attack. An-Nahar reported that the attack may have been possible vengeance for the dethroning of King Saud, because Faisal was scheduled to marry Saud's daughter — Princess Sita — in the same week. An-Nahar also reported that King Faisal had ignored his repeated complaints that his $3,500 monthly allowance ($15,200/month in 2014 dollars, $182,400/year) was insufficient and this may have prompted the assassination. Al Bayrak reported that according to reliable Saudi sources, King Faisal prohibited him from leaving the country because of his excessive alcohol and drug consumption overseas and the attack may have been a retaliation against the ban.
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