Sunday, April 03, 2005

Saudis Hold Slaves in the U.S.

From fjordman:
Hana F. al Jader, a Saudi Princess, was arrested today on charges of forced labor. According to the allegation, al Jader used coercion to keep two Indonesian women as domestic servants. Al Jader is alleged to have confiscated the women’s passports, restricting their freedom of movement and preventing them from fleeing. After the women’s visas had expired, al Jader unlawfully prevented them from leaving. The contract stated that the women would earn $1500 a month and work less than 8 hours a day. In reality, the women received $300 per month and worked well over 8 hours per day.
Human Rights Watch has described the conditions for foreign workers in Saudi Arabia as “resembling slavery.” Today’s arrest raises the fear that the pervasive abuses of foreign workers inside the kingdom are being perpetuated in the US by Saudi nationals.
The "princess" was arrested by the FBI in Boston. The Boston Herald has more details:
A Saudi Arabian princess living in Winchester was arrested yesterday on federal charges of enslaving two Indonesian women to care for her wheelchair-bound prince and unruly sons who allegedly spit on the servants.

Handcuffed and shackled at the ankles, Hana F. Al Jader, 39, a mother of six, was ordered held without bail pending a hearing tomorrow in Boston, where Saudi Arabian Embassy officials said they will appear on her behalf.

``It's just a shame they're taking her away from her children and her sick husband right now,'' her attorney Saher J. Macarius said. ``She's a very simple, pleasant person.''
Yeah, so was Eva Brown.
Al Jader is married to H.H. Prince Mohamed Bin Turki Al Saud, whom Macarius described as a cousin of the king of Saudi Arabia. The couple came to Boston to get medical care for the prince, who was paralyzed in an accident, the lawyer said.

Federal prosecutors claim Jader threatened her maids, identified in court papers as ``Tri'' and ``Ro,'' with ``serious harm or physical restraint'' if they did not obey, and she paid each woman $75 per week while telling immigration officials they earned $375 per week.

Neighbors told the Herald the two maids wore mint green smocks and were spit upon by Jader's five sons, who would arrive home from school and toss their backpacks in the garden for ``Tri'' and ``Ro'' to fetch. The children are 11 and older.

``I asked them, `Why do you treat them so bad?' And they said because they are women,'' one neighbor said.

But a family source close to Al Jader denied the maids were ever abused and said the two women were sobbing when FBI agents took them away last year. The women worked for Jader from February 2003 until November 2003.

Dozens of federal agents raided the home in September, seizing notes, personal items and dusting for fingerprints, according to another source.

A neighborhood source said Al Jader was often seen wearing designer clothes and leaving her home in a limousine. She bought her 62 Cambridge St. home in 2001 for $635,000, and also owns a nearby Arlington home assessed at $1.2 million. The government is seeking to take both properties through forfeiture for being used in a crime.

Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Theodore Meritt said the government will oppose bail for Jader because she is a flight risk.
Wow, getting tough on the Saudis, finally! In the "old days" they probably would have just been sent back to the Kingdom. A little more from Reuters:
If convicted on all charges, Al Jader would face up to 140 years in jail and up to $2.5 million in fines.

Al Jader's lawyer, James Merberg, confirmed that his client was married to Prince Mohamed Bin Turki Alsaud but would not say whether she might have diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution.

Officials at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington were not immediately available for comment.
Let's hope that old "diplomatic immunity" doesn't get in the way of justice.

And finally, a photo of the perp walk.

As Eric Cartman would say, This is Sweet!


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