Saudi princess to face trial in US court

Saudi princess Meshael Alayban is seen behind bars in this file photo.
Saudi princess Meshael Alayban is seen behind bars in this file photo.
An arraignment for a Saudi princess charged with human trafficking has been delayed after she failed to show up for the Southern California hearing, leaving the judge perturbed and leading her attorneys to promise that she would appear at a later date.

Meshael Alayban's scheduled arraignment was pushed back to Sept. 20.

"I am concerned the defendant is not here," Orange County Superior Court Judge Gerald G. Johnston said, but he noted there was no court order for her to appear.

Defense attorneys Paul S. Meyer and Jennifer L. Keller said the princess is complying with all court orders.

Alayban is charged with one count of human trafficking and faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted. She is free on $5 million bail but is barred from leaving Orange County without prior authorization.

Her lawyers did not indicate Alayban's location.

Alayban, 42, was arrested July 9 after a Kenyan woman carrying a suitcase flagged down a bus and told a passenger she believed she was a human trafficking victim.

The passenger helped her contact police, who searched the Irvine condominium where Alayban and her family were staying, authorities said.

Four other women left the home with police and said they were interested in being free, authorities said, but no criminal charges have been filed in connection with their circumstances.

The 30-year-old Kenyan woman told authorities she was hired in 2012 and her passport was taken from her on arrival in Saudi Arabia. In May, she was brought to the US and given her passport only to pass through customs, the district attorney's office said.

BA/BA

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