Australia

Melbourne couple accused of keeping asylum seeker as slave

A man and woman are accused of keeping an Iranian asylum seeker as a slave to work at their confectionery store in Melbourne for more than two years.

A Melbourne doctor and his wife allegedly kept an Iranian asylum seeker as a slave for two years to work at their confectionery store.

Seyyed Abdolzadeh Farshchi, 46, and Naghmeh Mostafaei, 45, are both charged with causing another person to engage in forced labour and conducting business with forced labour between 2015 and 2017.

Their alleged victim told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday he worked 14-hour days, seven days a week for the doctor at the latter's confectionery shop in the city's southeast.

During Persian New Year and Ramadan, he said he worked longer hours and once remained at the store for nearly three days.

The doctor wasn't always at the shop but regularly came to collect money, the alleged victim said.

He arrived in Australia by boat in 2013 with his wife and daughter, and was detained on Christmas Island and then Darwin, before moving to Melbourne.

Farshchi and Mostafaei are expected back in court on Tuesday as part of a two-week committal hearing, to determine if they will stand trial.

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