Saudi Princess Free on $5M Bail in Calif. - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Saudi Princess Free on $5M Bail in Calif.

Posted:
(Photo: CNN Newsource) (Photo: CNN Newsource)
Highlights
  • Princess's lawyer indicates incident is a labor dispute over wages and hours
  • Her attorney points out "there was no physical abuse, no physical restraint"
  • Meshael Alayban faces one felony count of human trafficking
  • Her alleged victim is a 30-year-old Kenyan woman who worked for her, police say

By Michael Martinez and Chandrika Narayan

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A woman identified as a Saudi Arabian princess has been accused of holding a domestic servant against her will at her condominium in Irvine, California.

Meshael Alayban, 42, faces one felony count of human trafficking. Court details released Thursday say Alayban is one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud.

Alayban appeared in an Orange County court in Santa Ana on Thursday, and the judge continued the arraignment until July 29. In the courtroom, Alayban was kept inside a cage-like holding space and spoke with her attorney through the wire webbing.

Alayban is being held in the Orange County jail in lieu of $5 million bail. She faces a maximum sentence of 12 years if convicted.

Police say the servant is a 30-year-old woman, originally from Kenya, who managed to escape Tuesday and flag down a bus. A passenger helped her contact the Irvine Police Department.

Investigators say the alleged victim had contracted to work with Alayban's family in Saudi Arabia in March 2012. Her salary was set at $1,600 a month for working eight hours a day, five days a week. But once she arrived in Saudi Arabia, the servant says, her passport was taken from her. She also says she was paid only $220 a month and forced to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

Alayban's attorney, Paul S. Meyer, indicated in a statement, however, that the incident is essentially a labor dispute.

Meyer told the court during the bail hearing that "the police report confirms that there was no physical abuse, no physical restraint, and that the complaints were about hours worked and wages paid," according to his statement.

"We intend to fully investigate all facts, and expect that the truth will resolve this matter," Meyer's statement said.

Police say Alayban's family traveled to the United States in May with the alleged victim and four women from the Philippines under similar contracts.

Armed with a search warrant, Irvine detectives and immigration and homeland security agents later found the four other women in the condominium, a news release from police and the Orange County District Attorney's Office says. Police say all five women are in good health, and at this time, there are no indications of physical abuse.

This is the first forced labor human trafficking case to be prosecuted in Orange County under California's Proposition 35, which passed in November and increased the penalty for human trafficking.

CNN's Stella Chan contributed to this report.

  • Training Aimed At Building Stronger Cases Against Suspected Child Abusers

    Training Aimed At Building Stronger Cases Against Suspected Child Abusers

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:10 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:10:34 GMT
    Several dozen professionals are taking part in a two day training seminar put on by the Department Of Family Protective Services. The professionals are learning techniques that will help them make better cases against those suspected of child abuse.More >>
    Several dozen professionals are taking part in a two day training seminar put on by the Department Of Family Protective Services. The professionals are learning techniques that will help them make better cases against those suspected of child abuse.More >>
  • Man Indicted For Fatal Punch

    Man Indicted For Fatal Punch

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:07:27 GMT
    A Nueces County grand jury has indicated a man accused of fatally punching another man at a local strip club in April of this year. The victim later died from his injuries.More >>
    A Nueces County grand jury has indicated a man accused of fatally punching another man at a local strip club in April of this year. The victim later died from his injuries.More >>
  • Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?

    Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-07-25 04:03:27 GMT
    By executive order, President Obama is increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The President hopes to have the private sector follow suit with the pay increase. Meanwhile, the debate continues as to whether the increase would actually help or hinder American workers and our economy.We examine three reasons the increase is good, and three reasons it is not so good in a 3News Special Report: Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?More >>
    By executive order, President Obama is increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The President hopes to have the private sector follow suit with the pay increase. Meanwhile, the debate continues as to whether the increase would actually help or hinder American workers and our economy.We examine three reasons the increase is good, and three reasons it is not so good in a 3News Special Report: Minimum Wage - Does it Make Cents?More >>