US deports Qatari military officer for enslaving servants

US judge orders deportation of Qatari military officer and his wife for treating servants as slaves, forcing them to live in primitive conditions

Photo by: Shutterstock
Photo by: Shutterstock

US judge orders deportation of Qatar military officer and wife accused of engaging in forced labour.

A US judge ordered the immediate deportation on Tuesday of a Qatari military officer and his wife after they were accused of holding two female servants in slave-like conditions in their upscale San Antonio home.

Hassan al Homoud, 46, who received military training at San Antonio's Camp Bullis, pleaded guilty in December to visa fraud. His wife, Zainab al Hosani, a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, also pleaded guilty in the same period, for knowing that a felony was taking place and failing to report it.

Normally, those engaging in forced labour can be punished by up to 10 years in prison, but authorities were forced to offer the couple a plea agreement, as the servants - one from Bangladesh and the other from Indonesia - refused to testify against them.

The couple also agreed to pay $60,000 restitution to each of their victims.

Prosecutors said the couple had never paid the servants for their work, as they confiscated their cell phones and passports, and gave them only enough food to survive.

A federal affidavit said they were forced to live in a "run-down apartment with no furnishings, no linens, utensils, clothing, television, reading material or even toilet paper."

Moreover, the US Attorney's office said Hosani, who said he took full responsibility for his actions, had "threatened the workers with arrest and incarceration in Qatar if they failed to perform their work obligations."

US District Judge Orlando Garcia said the couple would be immediately removed from the country and never allowed back.

TRTWorld, Reuters