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Faisal bin Musaid

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Title: Faisal bin Musaid  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Musa'id bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Faisal of Saudi Arabia, House of Saud, Regicides, Grandsons of Abdulaziz ibn Saud
Collection: 1947 Births, 1975 Deaths, 1975 in Saudi Arabia, 20Th-Century Executions by Saudi Arabia, Executed Royalty, Grandsons of Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, House of Saud, King Saud University Faculty, People Convicted of Murder by Saudi Arabia, People Executed by Saudi Arabia by Decapitation, People Executed for Murder, Regicides, San Francisco State University Alumni, Saudi Arabian Assassins, Saudi Arabian People Convicted of Murder, Saudi Arabian People Executed by Decapitation, Saudi Arabian Princes, University of Colorado Alumni
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Faisal bin Musaid

Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdulaziz
Saudi Prince
Assasin of King Faisal
Born 4 April 1944
Died 18 June 1975 (aged 30–31)
House House of Saud
Father Musa'id bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Mother Watfa bint Muhammad Al Rashid
Religion Islam

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 Faisal of Saudi Arabia.


  • Early life 1
  • Education 2
  • After the United States 3
  • Assassination and trial 4
    • Royal Palace shooting 4.1
    • Imprisonment and execution 4.2
    • Motives 4.3
  • References 5

Early life

Faisal was born in 1947.[1] His father was Prince Musa'id 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 Rashidi relatives than their paternal relatives, Al Sauds.[2]

In 1966, his brother Khaled[3] was killed during a Riyadh protest against the introduction of television.[4] 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 studied in the United States.[5] He went to San Francisco State College and then the University of Colorado.[6] He was described by his peers as "[a] quiet, likable, notably unstudious young man".[5] 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" and his motivation for his future assassination "must have been drugs".[4]

In 1970, he was arrested in Boulder, Colorado, for selling LSD and hashish.[5] In May 1970, the district attorney dropped the charges.[5]

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.[4] Surma viewed the Saudi's interest "in achieving peace with Israel" as positive outcomes "not available with the previous ruler King Faisal".[7]

Assassination and trial

Royal Palace shooting

On 25 March 1975, he went to the Royal Palace in Riyadh, where King Faisal was holding 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.[5] The king was quickly rushed to a hospital but doctors failed to save him. Before dying, King Faisal ordered that the assassin not be executed. Saudi television crews captured the entire assassination on camera.[8]

Imprisonment and execution

Initial reports described Faisal bin Musaid as "mentally deranged." He was moved to a Riyadh prison.[5] However, he was later deemed sane to be tried.[9]

A sharia court found Faisal guilty of the king's murder on 18 June, and his public execution occurred hours later.[10] His brother Bandar was imprisoned for one year and later released.[2] Cars with loudspeakers drove around Riyadh publically announcing the verdict and his imminent execution, and crowds gathered in the square.[10] Faisal was led by a soldier to the execution point and was reported to have walked unsteadily.[10] Wearing white robes and blindfolded, Faisal was beheaded with a single sweep of a gold handled sword.[10] 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.[10]


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.[5]

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.[11] An-Nahar also reported that King Faisal had ignored his repeated complaints that his $3500 monthly allowance ($15,400/week in 2014 dollars, $800,000/year) was insufficient and this may have prompted the assassination.[11] 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.[11]


  1. ^ George Fetherling (2001). The Book of Assassins: A Biographical Dictionary from Ancient Times to the Present. New York: Wiley. p. 139. Retrieved 9 September 2013.   – via Questia (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Al Rasheed, Madawi (1991). Politics in an Arabian Oasis. The Rashidis of Saudi Arabia. New York: I. B. Tauirs & Co. Ltd. 
  3. ^ Ali, Tariq (2001). "Kingdom of corruption: Keeping an eye on the ball: the Saudi connection" (PDF). Index on Censorship 30: 14–18.  
  4. ^ a b c Reported Killer of King Faisal Knew Drugs, Radicals P.5, AP The Journal, (Meriden, Connecticut), 25 March 1975. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Saudi Arabia: The Death of A Desert Monarch". Time. 7 April 1975. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ Saudi Arabia's King Faisal Assassinated. p. 1, Lodi News-Sentinel. 26 March 1975, Retrieved 25 March 2015. Via
  7. ^ Saudi Prince Beheaded. The News and The Courier, 19 June 1975
  8. ^ Ludington, Nick (27 March 1975) Public Execution is Expected The Daily News. p.5, Retrieved 25 March 2015. Via
  9. ^ UPI (31 March 1975) Faisal's Slayer Will Stand Trial Milwaukee Sentinel. p.2, Retrieved 25 March 2015. Via
  10. ^ a b c d e "Prince beheaded in public for King Faisal's murder.", The Times, London, 19 June 1975, p. 1
  11. ^ a b c Motives for Slaying Offered The Daily News. p.5 , 27 March 1975, Retrieved 25 March 2015. Via
  • "Assassin's Fate and Motives Unknown." New York Times 27 March 1975 : 3.
  • de Onis, Juan. "Motive Unknown." New York Timfes 26 March 1975 : 1 & 8.
  • Pace, Eric. "Rumors of a Beheading Draw Crowds in Riyadh." New York Times 5 April 1975 : 3.
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