Sheikha Latifa: ‘UN Knocking on UAE Embassy Door’ as Pressure Mounts on Dubai Ruler to Release ‘Captive Princess’
The crew on board the now-infamous US yacht which engineered a Dubai Princess's foiled escape attempt from the UAE demonstrated outside the Emirati embassy in London yesterday, demanding the immediate release of Sheikha Latifa, who, they say, is being arbitrarily detained by her father Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum – ruler of Dubai.
A few days ago, the UN submitted an urgent communication on behalf of campaigners to the UAE and Indian authorities concerning the alleged capture of Sheikha Latifa in international waters. In it, campaigners, represented by Guernica International Justice Chambers, charge the authorities with breaching international law by forcefully disappearing and arbitrary detaining the princess.
At yesterday’s action - organised by Detained in Dubai, the UK-based NGO spearheading the #freelatifa campaign - Tiina Jauhiaien, a Finnish citizen, who was on board the yacht with Latifa, hand delivered the UN communication through the gold-platted embassy letter box.
Jauhiaien, who was detained for two weeks in the UAE after the seizure of the yacht, said although she had endured repression at the hands of UAE security forces, she was primarily concerned about the well-being of her “best friend” Latifa, who, she says, is now being “imprisoned” at the hands of her father and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
Since her capture a couple of months ago, the Dubai princess’s whereabouts and perhaps more pertinently - her well-being - remains unknown.
In recent weeks, the UAE government have come under increased pressure to reveal Latifa’s location. The story of her escape attempt, capture and subsequent disappearance, has caused a media storm and drawn condemnation from rights organisations - a couple of weeks ago, Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling on the Emirati authorities to reveal the status of the princess.
Speaking at yesterday’s action, David Haigh, managing partner of Detained in Dubai, was confident this latest intervention on behalf of the UN would heap more pressure on Dubai’s ruler to disclose his daughter’s whereabouts.
Haigh, who, in the past, was himself tortured in the UAE, said:
“We’ve knocked on this embassy door many times before and been ignored. Now, however, it is the United Nations who are knocking. They cannot be turned away so easily. The UAE authorities must do the right thing and release Latifa.”
It is imperative the ruler of Dubai heed the call of international bodies and rights organisations by immediately revealing the whereabouts of Latifa. By arbitrarily detaining the princess in international waters and, thereafter, refusing to reveal her location, the UAE authorities are in clear breach of international humanitarian law. In the coming period, a settlement must be reached whereby Sheikha Latifa’s safety and freedom is guaranteed.
- For more information, please contact the ICFUAE team at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 7979 6666 98
- For photo’s of yesterday’s action, please see attachments.
- For more on the story of Sheikha Latifa, please see https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/apr/18/runaway-32-year-old-princess-brought-back-to-dubai
- For more information on the UN’s intervention, please see https://www.guernicagroup.org/news/press-statement-un-working-group-transmits-urgent-communication-to-uae-and-india