DA drops charges against Saudi princess in human trafficking case

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, September 20, 2013 15:30 EDT
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Meshael Alayban, 42, appears for arraignment in Santa Ana (AFP)
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US prosecutors have dropped human trafficking charges against a Saudi princess accused of holding a Kenyan housekeeper against her will, officials said Friday.

Meshael Alayban, one of six wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, had been due to enter a plea in court to the felony charges, filed against her in July.

But Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced unexpectedly that he was dropping the charges, due to insufficient evidence.

The 42-year-old princess could have faced up to 12 years in prison if convicted of felony human trafficking. She has been free on $5 million bail, although required to wear a GPS tracking device.

The 30-year-old Kenyan housekeeper alleged that Alayban had forced her to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for $220 a month, according to the Los Angeles Times. She also claimed she could not leave because Alayban kept her passport and other documents.

But the Saudi’s lawyers Paul S. Meyer and Jennifer Keller said the housekeeper traveled to Orange County in first class, had her own cellphone and shopped at neighborhood malls at Alayban’s expense.

Rackauckas had described the case as “an example of forced labor.”

The alleged victim, who has not been publicly identified, left Alayban’s apartment on July 9 and flagged down a passing bus, claiming that she had been held against her will.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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