EXPRESS CHECKOUT

Dubai’s ruler accused of slavery

Posted in Law + Social Policy, Politics + Diplomacy, Sport + Leisure by expresscheckout on 15 September, 2006

Camel jockeys in Dubai ca. 1980-1997 

Motley Rice files class action suit against several Arab sheiks
By Tony Bartelme
The Post and Courier
September 14, 2006

United Arab Emirates prime minister among those named in lawsuit

Thousands of young boys from Asia and Africa have been kidnapped and sold into slavery to serve as camel jockeys in races for wealthy Arabs, a new lawsuit by local law firm Motley Rice alleges.

Filed this week in Florida, the class action lawsuit targets several Arab sheikhs, including the prime minster of United Arab Emirates. The complaint alleges that boys as young as 2 years old have been stolen from their families and kept in brutal camel-racing camps.

“It is truly shocking that such unimaginable crimes are taking place against children in this day and age,” said Ron Motley, a Mount Pleasant lawyer. The firm took the case because of the expertise it gained in its lawsuit against the financiers of the 9/11 attacks, added Mike Elsner, another Motley Rice attorney.

A spokesman for the UAE’s U.S. embassy had no immediate comment.

Camel racing is a popular pasttime in some Middle Eastern companies, but human rights organizations and western governments say the industry has a dark side.

A report last year by the State Department documented how young boys from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sudan are kidnapped or sold into bondage and then placed in camps near camel race tracks.

The report said children are deliberately starved to prevent weight gain. Many are injured or killed in camel stampedes. “Those who survive the harsh conditions are disposed of once they reach their teenage years,” the report said.

The lawsuit targets two high-flying United Arab Emirate brothers: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the country’s prime minister, and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, minister of finance and industry.

The lawsuit alleges that Sheikh Mohammed travels the world in his personal 747 and that both brothers own billions of dollars in assets in the United States. Both also are well-known in international horse- and camel-racing circles.

Motley Rice LLC: Official Site

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