x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Emirati naval officer in US dock over maid

Lawyer disputes claim that maid was not allowed to speak to anyone outside the home.

The Filipina maid of a UAE naval officer told a US court on Monday that she was forced to sign a document stating she had been paid US$19,200 (Dh70,464) for 12 months' work when in fact her wages had been withheld.

Col Arif Mohamed Saeed Mohamed Al Ali has pleaded not guilty of keeping Elizabeth Cabitla Ballesteros confined in his home and making her work long hours without pay. He has also denied visa fraud and lying to a government official. A civil lawsuit has been put on hold pending the outcome of the criminal case.

The maid told the district court in Providence, Rhode Island, that she feared Col Al Ali and was told not to speak to anyone outside of the home. She said she worked for Col Al Ali and cared for his five children before escaping last October.

Col Al Ali's lawyer, Robert Clark Corrente, said the woman had been paid in full, and that Col Al Ali arranged for her to get a SIM card for her mobile phone and did not restrict her calls. The case was due to resume yesterday.

econroy@thenational.ae