Trial Will Open Today for Two Accused of Running Slave Ring
Opening arguments are scheduled today in the Los Angeles federal court trial of a brother and sister accused of bringing Indonesians into this country and selling them into virtual slavery as domestic servants.
Nasim Mussry and his sister, Elsa Singman, were among 10 people indicted three years ago on charges of conspiracy and inflicting involuntary servitude via fraud and immigration violations. All the defendants are naturalized American citizens originally from Indonesia. Five are members of the same family.
Two defendants, David Mussry and Mordecai Sassoon, are fugitives. The remaining defendants were arrested in January, 1982, by the FBI, which announced that it had broken up a slave ring operating in some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
Five defendants pleaded guilty to reduced charges and were given probation, leaving Nasim Mussry and Singman, who are free on $10,000 bail, to stand trial before U.S. District Judge Richard Gadbois.
Witnesses Held in U.S.
The trial is expected to take three weeks, and many of the roughly 60 supposed slaves, who have been held in this country as witnesses, are expected to testify.
The 29-count indictment alleges that unemployed, undereducated Indonesians were induced to come to this county with promises of free air fare and jobs at $100 a week.