The Saudi princess who had been accused of holding a Kenyan servant as a slave in her California home was set free by U.S. prosecutors, who dropped their human trafficking charges, reports the AFP via Yahoo! News on Sept. 20.
Meshael Alayban, a wife of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, was expected to be arraigned on charges Friday that could have carried up to 12 years in jail. The 42-year-old princess had been charged with “human trafficking of a Kenyan woman into the United States and forcing the victim to work as a domestic servant against her will.”
Instead, prosecutors conceded that the servant was not coercively held, and were forced to free the princess.
“The evidence indicates very strongly at this point that the (domestic servant) was not actually the victim of human trafficking, and so this case had to be dismissed,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
However, Rackauckas added, “I don't think (the servant) was lying to us. I think that there was a lot of misunderstanding and misapprehension.”
In July, the 30-year-old servant said she escaped Alayban’s Irvine condominium and flagged down a bus. She told police that the princess did not allow her to leave the home, confiscating her passport. The Kenyan woman also said the Saudi princess forced her to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and denied her any medical care. She complained that her pay for the month, which was supposed to be $1,600, was only $720.
Lawyers for the Saudi royal accused the 30-year-old unnamed Kenyan of fabricating the story in an attempt to secure a visa so she can stay in the United States.
“It was obvious she was seeking a visa,” said attorney Paul S. Meyer. He accused the servant of lying “from the moment this case was filed. It doesn't pass the smell test.”
Meshael is one of six wives married to the Saudi Prince. The Prince is a grandson of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.