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Belgium Fines UAE Princesses for Mistreating Servants 

  • VOA News

A general view of Dubai Marina, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 23, 2015.

A court in Belgium has convicted eight princesses from the United Arab Emirates of mistreating their servants during a stay at a luxury Brussels hotel.

The women, members of Abu Dhabi's ruling al-Nahyan family, each received suspended 15-month sentences for human trafficking and degrading treatment. Princess Sheikha Hamda Al-Nahyan and her seven daughters were fined $184,000 each.

The defendants, who did not appear in court but were represented by lawyers, were acquitted of an additional charge of inhuman treatment.

The case stemmed from a visit to Brussels by the princesses nearly 10 years ago, during which they rented the fourth floor of what was then the Conrad Hotel for several months. A family servant slipped out of the hotel and complained to Belgian police about her treatment.

Prosecutors said the 23 servants, many of them African, had to work around the clock, with some sleeping on the floor, for substandard wages.

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