Qatari couple charged in Texas with abusing household staff
AUSTIN, Texas A Qatari military official and his wife were charged by U.S. prosecutors inTexas on Monday with withholding wages from two of their housekeepers from Indonesia and Bangladesh, forcing them to live in squalor and preventing them from...
AUSTIN, Texas A Qatari military official and his wife were charged by U.S. prosecutors in Texas on Monday with withholding wages from two of their housekeepers from Indonesia and Bangladesh, forcing them to live in squalor and preventing them from leaving.
Hassan Salem Al Homoud and his wife, Zainab Al Hosani , were charged with engaging in forced labor and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas said.
A lawyer for the couple was not immediately available for comment.
Al Homoud, a Qatari military official living in the San Antonio area where he is undergoing training, and his wife brought the housemaid and servant in mid-2014 to Texas to work for their family.
"The criminal complaint alleges that the defendants housed the workers in primitive conditions, restricted their ability to move or travel, and provided them with limited amounts of food," the office said in a statement.
San Antonio police came across one of the workers "in distress" on a road near the military post, which prompted an investigation, it said.
Police then found the apartment where the two lived, which was furnished only with a pallet on the floor for sleeping, the statement said.
"In order to restrict their liberty to move and travel and to leave their place of employment, Al Homoud and Al Hosani withheld the payment of wages to both workers and deprived them of possession of cell phones , passports, and visas," prosecutors said