Emir's family members charged with exploitation in Belgium

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BRUSSELS: Seven family members of a deceased Emir from the United Arab Emirates were charged Tuesday with exploiting servants while living in a luxury Brussels hotel, Belgian authorities said Tuesday.

The widow and four daughters of Emir Mohammed Khalid Al-Nahyan were among those charged, the Belga news agency reported prosecutors as saying.

After being charged, they were released and have since left Belgium.They are accused of psychological harassment and risk two to five years in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors.

Eleven of the family s servants, hailing from Egypt, Iraq, India, Morocco, Philippines, Syria and Turkey, have been given the status of victims of exploitation. Six others continue to work for the family.

Tipped off by hotel staff on July 1, work inspectors visited Brussels Conrad hotel, where the family had been renting a floor for the past year.

In previous weeks, four servants from the Philippines had sought to get away but were brought back by members of the family s security.

At the time of the inspections by authorities, the Belgian press reported that the servants were badly paid, deprived of their passports and given little rest. -AFP

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