US court dismisses child slavery case against Dubai ruler


Judge Cecilia Altanoga ruled in favor of the defense, which argued that Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum did not have sufficient contacts in Florida to justify trying the suit in the southeastern US state.

"We’ve said from the beginning that this case doesn’t belong in US Courts and were gratified by Judge Altonagas careful legal analysis and ruling," said Habib Al-Mulla, a spokesman for the Dubai ruler.

The class-action lawsuit filed by parents of child jockeys alleged Sheikh Mohammad, his brother Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashed al-Maktoum and other unnamed defendants kidnapped and enslaved children, in some cases as young as two, to be used on the camel racing circuit.

The plaintiffs argued the two defendants could be tried in Florida because corporations they own do business in that state, but the judge said this ran "contrary to well-settled principles of corporate law."

"Because the court concludes that it lacks personal jurisdiction over the identified defendants, it does not reach or address the merits of the other arguments raised," Altanoga said in the ruling.

The defense had argued the interests of former child jockeys are best served through an existing program to send them back to their home countries and compensate them there.

Sheikh Mohammad is also the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Hamdan serves as UAE finance and industry minister.


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