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US tells UAE officer to pay $1.2M to former worker

US tells UAE officer to pay $1.2M to former worker

A U.S. judge ordered a naval officer from the United Arab Emirates to pay $1.2 million to a former Filipina domestic worker who accused him of imprisoning her and forcing her to work long hours for little pay, although it was unclear whether she will ever receive any money.
Col. Arif Mohamed Saeed Mohamed Al-Ali had been found to be in default for failing to appear in court in a lawsuit brought by Elizabeth Ballesteros. She cared for Al-Ali's family in Rhode Island when he was studying at the U.S. Naval War College.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge John McConnell ordered Al-Ali to pay Ballesteros for forcing her to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and for what he called outrageous and inhumane conduct, including withholding her passport and threatening her if she tried to leave.
The award included $10,000 per day for each of the 84 days that McConnell said Ballesteros was imprisoned and subject to emotional abuse.
Al-Ali was acquitted of related criminal charges by U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lisi, who said Ballesteros' testimony didn't ring true. Lisi said Ballesteros exaggerated when she said she worked long hours cleaning the house, washing two cars daily, cooking, doing laundry and ironing for a family of seven.
But McConnell wrote that he accepted the allegations as true and called her a highly credible witness.
Al-Ali's lawyer, Robert Clark Corrente, withdrew from the case in January, saying Al-Ali did not want to spend more money on the lawsuit. Since then, letters sent to Al-Ali's listed address in the UAE have been returned as undeliverable.
Corrente did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment on Thursday, but he said previously that Al-Ali has returned to the UAE and doesn't have any assets in Rhode Island.
A lawyer for Ballesteros said in August that Ballesteros may never get any money. But she said it was a symbolic victory that brought violations of her human rights to light.


Updated : 2021-04-15 23:23 GMT+08:00