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8 Emirati princesses sentenced for mistreating servants

8 EMIRATI PRINCESSES SENTENCED FOR MISTREATING SERVANTS

Eight princesses from the United Arab Emirates were convicted Friday by a court in Belgium for "human trafficking and exploiting their servants".

The princesses were given 15 months suspended jail times and each fined 165,000 euros ($184,000).

The defendants did not appear in court but a defense lawyer said some of the victims exaggerated the extent of the treatment they received and that the company that arranged the labor contracts for the servants is legally responsible.

The case began in 2008 when the eight members of Abu Dhabi's ruling Al-Nahyan family rented an entire floor for several months at the Conrad Hotel in Brussels and inhumanely treated their 23 servants.

A servant managed to escape from the hotel and went to police about the mistreatment.

A witness said the servants from different African nations were forced to be prepared 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to fulfill all the demands of the princesses.

The mostly female servants were forced to eat leftovers and sleep for just a few hours on the floor outside the bedrooms of the princesses.

Some of the servants did not have residence or working permits and were paid very little, while others did not receive any payment.

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