November 12, 2011 · 0 Comments
“I get up every day with my head held high, thinking that justice is going to be served, and then I see that my case isn’t making any progress at all. I demand justice, that’s all. My family, my friends and my lawyers are the only reason I manage to keep on going.”
Soraya, a 23-year-old German-Spanish model, was allegedly raped on August 12, 2008 on the luxury yacht Turama, docked in the port of Ibiza. She claims that her attacker was the Saudi prince Al Waleed bin Talal, one of the 20 wealthiest men in the world.
A shy young woman, she says that she has had constant nightmares since that terrible episode. She is also afraid to travel, something that has affected her modeling career. But for the last three years, Soraya has remained silent. It was very difficult to convince her to meet with a reporter. She arrived to her interview with EL PAÍS accompanied by two aunts and her lawyers, Max Turiel and Javier Beloqui. For a long time, she let them talk about her case. But when she finally did agree to speak about that night in Ibiza, it was a paragraph-long explosion that shows her anger at the slowness of the justice system. In general, Soraya had a hard time handling the questions in her first media interview.
One gets the impression that she’d like to have the power to be able to erase from her memory what happened on August 12, 2008 on the Turama, a 120-meter, 43-cabin luxury yacht registered in Malta, rented out to members of the royal House of Saud. So far, it has been impossible to find out the names of any of its passengers. The police even argued that the yacht was Saudi territory and that they couldn’t board it.
“On August 11, 2008, I had arranged to meet in the port of Ibiza with two Arab girls that I’d made friends with a few days earlier. We got on a boat that took us to the club El Divino. They took us to the VIP area. Soon after that, I started to feel nauseous and kind of drowsy. I think someone had slipped something into my drink. I went to the dance floor and asked a Basque girl who was there with some other guys for help, but they ignored me. A bouncer from the VIP area came up to me and said that I had to get off the dance floor.” That was just the beginning of the nightmare.
Soraya told the two Arab girls that she had gone out with – both of them supposedly princesses – that she didn’t feel well and that she wanted to go home. They left the club and got into a car that was waiting for them at the door. The vehicle took them to the port where the Turama was docked. She doesn’t really remember how she got on that giant yacht.
“What struck me the most was seeing how much cocaine there was everywhere. And I was really disgusted to see a ton of naked girls surrounded by men with their clothes on. They seemed to me like prostitutes. In that orgy, the Basque girl who I had asked for help at El Divino was there,” she says.
Al-Waleed bin Talal in the Middle
“After that, all I remember is that it felt like I was in a dream, and someone was on top of me, kissing and touching me. At the same time I felt a terrible pain,” says Soraya. “I was a virgin. I had been dating a guy a few months earlier, but I wanted to save my virginity for someone who was worth it. When I saw that there was a man on top of me, I ran towards the door. I was shivering and scared to death.”
In the documents processed in 2008 by the Ibiza police station, it says that the young woman sent several text messages to an individual named Benedicto, saying that she didn’t feel well and that she thought that someone had slipped something into her drink, asking him to come and pick her up at the port.
“He’s a guy I had met a few days earlier. He was working as a chauffeur for the Saudi royal family. Beni was like a brother to me, although sometimes he’d ask me if I was a virgin or what positions I liked… so he had got to know that I was a virgin. After all that happened, I didn’t tell him because I wasn’t sure what side he was on.”
For four months, Soraya and her mother combed the internet in search of people from the Saudi royal family, trying to find the face of the man who had attacked the young model. In a video about the Al Saud family, they saw images of the prince Al Waleed, who she recognized as the man who had allegedly raped her.
Through his lawyers, Al Waleed bin Talal, vehemently denies any involvement in the case and claims to wield an arsenal of documents and statements from individuals saying that he was in Cannes, France that day. But none of this has been supplied to the judicial investigation.
The young model doesn’t hesitate for a moment when asked if she still thinks this magnate was the one who raped her. “I haven’t got the slightest doubt that this was the man who raped me. If he’s so innocent, then why doesn’t he provide a saliva sample?” This would enable the authorities to compare his DNA with the genetic profile of the semen found on the victim’s body.
Al Waleed refuses to provide a saliva sample with the argument that he doesn’t have to prove his innocence. “If I were innocent of something I was being accused of, I’d be willing to stick my neck out,” counters Soraya.
She is clearly outraged about what she perceives as the investigators’ passivity: “The police insinuated that this had happened to me because I was grubbing for money and had let myself be dazzled by the yachts. What’s more, the medical examiner didn’t check me thoroughly and suggested that I had reported it, like other girls do, to be able to get an abortion. They treated me like an animal.”
Now the model demands justice. “Nothing can repair the damage that they’ve done to me. It makes me mad that no one will do anything, because there is a prince involved. That’s why I’m asking for help. A few months ago, an acquaintance of mine wrote me saying that she knew that I’d been a kind of gift and that they’d laid a trap for me.”
One of her lawyers seizes the opportunity to make an appeal: “If anyone has any information, please contact us via our Twitter account, @turielbeloqui.”
By Emma Brown