A locked-up air stewardess has begged for mercy from the king after she was caught with a cannabis joint in her bra at an illegal party in Saudi Arabia.
Ilaria De Rosa, 24, was jailed for six months after local judges found her guilty of breaking the state's notoriously strict drug laws.
She was caught with the joint in her underwear when she was arrested at an illegal party at a hotel in the Red Sea resort of Jeddah in May.
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De Rosa – who pled not guilty – is considered to have received an extremely lenient sentence in a country where the smallest drugs offence can face the death penalty.
Other guests at the party – a Saudi woman, a man from Egypt and five male Tunisian nationals – were all sentenced to 18 months.
Now, her legal team has appealed directly to Saudi Arabia's 87-year-old ruler King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for her release, according to Italian media.
Italian diplomatic sources are quoted in local media saying: "The Italian embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate General in Jeddah, in close collaboration with the Farnesina [the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs], are providing all possible assistance to our compatriot.
"Immediately after the sentence, we requested another consular visit to allow the compatriot's sister to visit her."
Ilaria – from the small town of Resana, Treviso Province, northern Italy – worked as an air hostess at Lithuanian airline Avion Express.
The brunette – who has no criminal record and speaks four languages – was working on flights to Saudi Arabia on a regular basis.
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After graduating in Human Sciences at the Liceo Statale in Treviso, Ilaria moved to Maastricht in the Netherlands.
She reportedly also lived in Germany and worked at NATO before becoming an air stewardess.
Ilaria's Instagram account – which has more than 2,200 followers – says: "Be kind or be quiet."
The Italian foreign service experts are understood to have been in negotiations with Saudi authorities ever since Ilaria was arrested.
The state prosecution in the Italian capital Rome – which is dealing with cases of Italian citizens arrested abroad – has also been in constant contact with the Saudi Arabian prosecutor.
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Ilaria's local Democratic Party MP in Italy, Rachele Scarpa, said: "Obviously, these are complex situations, where prudence and reserve are a must.
"We need to have faith in the institutions. As always, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will follow the matter with extreme attention."
Ilaria's parents and diplomats hope that – if the appeal is granted – the imprisoned flight attendant may be allowed to return home this autumn.
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