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Thai Police Drop Slavery Case Against Dr Yonas Tegegn of the World Health Organisation



Dr Yonas Tegegn of the World Health Organisation

Dr Yonas Tegegn of the World Health Organisation


BANGKOK – Police on Friday dropped an investigation into allegations of slavery leveled by an Ethiopian maid at her employers a top Bangkok-based World Health Organisation official and his wife.

However, a lawyer acting on the young woman’s behalf said legal proceedings would continue.

The unnamed 25-year-old maid filed a complaint with Thai police last month accusing Dr Yonas Tegegn, the WHO’s top representative in Thailand, and his wife of abusing her and forcing her to work without pay for nearly two years at a residence in Nonthaburi.

“After questioning witnesses we have decided there are no charges to be brought,” investigating officer Pol Col Mana Tienmaungpak of the Pak Kret police station in Nonthaburi said.

Mr Tegegn, also an Ethiopian national, has firmly denied any wrongdoing over the “baseless” allegations.

According to her lawyer, the maid said she had been promised a monthly wage of 3,000 baht — less than half the local minimum wage — for a five-day week.

The couple have said they paid her 6,000 baht a month and had agreed to keep it for her until the end of her contract this June, the police officer added.

But Surapong Kongchantuk from the Lawyers Council of Thailand, said the maid worked without pay from July 2013 to March this year when she finally escaped her employers.

Legal proceedings would continue, he said, without detailing the next steps available for the maid, who is being helped by a local non-government organisation.

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