French mother in child custody battle with Saudi prince ‘falls’ to her death

Candice Cohen-Ahnine
Candice Cohen-Ahnine with her daughter, Aya.

A French woman who had been involved in a bitter child custody battle with a Saudi Arabian prince has fallen to her death under mysterious circumstances.

Candice Cohen-Ahnine fell from her fourth-floor apartment window in Paris last Thursday. French media reported that the 35-year old mother slipped “as if she was escaping something dangerous.”

In January, she won a custody battle in a Paris court against Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Saudi royal family. The court ordered Prince Sattam to hand over custody of the his 11-year-old daughter, Aya, to her mother and provide child support of 10,000 euros a month.

Sattam Al Saud, however, dismissed the ruling, saying “France hasn’t got the right to take her back. She is a Saudi citizen and a princess. They cannot oblige a princess to leave this country.”

Cohen-Ahnine was to travel to Riyadh next month to get her daughter back.

Her lawyer, Laurence Tarquiny-Charpentier, said her client’s death was not suicide.

“She was a woman who was a real fighter and a very positive person, and plus, there were plans to see Aya in mid-September. That was her greatest motivation of all,” Tarquiny-Charpentier said.

A relative has confirmed that Cohen-Ahnine complained of being threatened over the past few days. There are fears that the tragedy may be somehow connected to her dispute with Sattam Al Saud.