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Faisal bin MUSAID





Classification: Assassin
Characteristics: Nephew of King Faisal - Claiming vengeance for his brother Khaled
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 25, 1975
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: April 4, 1944
Victim profile: King Faisal of Saudi Arabia
Method of murder: Shooting (revolver)
Location: Ryyadh, Saudi Arabia
Status: Found guilty of regicide. Hours after the verdict, he was publicly decapitated in Riyadh on June 18, 1975

Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdul-Aziz (April 4, 1944 - June 18, 1975) was the assassin and nephew of King Faisal. He assassinated King Faisal. It is a commonly-held, but so far unsubstantiated, popular belief in Saudi Arabia that Faisal bin Musaid was a pawn in a Western conspiracy to assassinate King Faisal.

Early life and education


Faisal's father was Prince Musaid. His mother was Watfa, a daughter of Muhammad bin Talal, the 12th (and last) Rashidi amir. He was born in Riyadh.

Faisal had a brother Khaled, who allegedly died in a Riyadh protest against the introduction of television. 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, Prince Bandar, and a sister, Princess Al Jawhara.


Faisal studied in the United States. He went to San Francisco State College and the University of Colorado. He was described by his peers as "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" and his motivation for his future assassination "must have been drugs".

In 1970, he was arrested in Boulder, Colorado for selling LSD and hashish. The district attorney would drop the charges. Afterward, Faisal took graduate courses in political science at Berkeley. He did not finish his degree and he left the United States after being granted diplomatic immunity.

Christine Surma

His girlfriend was Christine Surma, a blond part-time movie actress who played in Bite of the Cobra. She was 26 at the time of the assassination. Surma viewed the Saudi's interest "in achieving peace with Israel" as positive outcomes "not available with the previous ruler [King Faisal]". She stated her boyfriend was a "perfect gentleman who was proud of his family and his country.

After the United States

After leaving the United States, he went to Beirut, where he was again involved in drug abuse. He also, for unknown reasons 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 Christine Surma.

Assassination and trial

On March 25, 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 nose 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 gold swords and submachine guns arrested the prince. The king was quickly rushed to a hospital but doctors failed in saving him. Before dying, King Faisal ordered that the assassin not be executed. Saudi television crews captured the entire assassination on camera.

Initial reports described Faisal bin Musaid as "mentally deranged." Prince Faisal was moved to a Riyadh prison.

He had undergone psychiatric treatment in Beirut, where he had blamed his uncle for the death of his brother. His involvement with drugs was cited as one of the motivations in the assassination. Saudi officials began to state that the prince's actions were deliberate and planned. Rumors suggested that the prince had told his mother about his assassination plans who in turn told King Faisal. King Faisal had 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.

He was tried and found guilty of regicide. Hours after the verdict, he was publicly decapitated in Riyadh.


King Faisal of Saudi Arabia



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