Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid abducted and imprisoned OWN daughter, says UN: 'He must be brought to justice'
The United Nations has confirmed that the ruler of Dubai did imprison his princess daughter and consequently has asked for him to be brought to justice. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum "ordered and orchestrated" the kidnapping of his daughter Princess Latifa, 34, after she fled the emirate ruled by him two years ago, according to a judgment by the UK High Court in March. Apparently, she continued to be held against her will in her homeland despite her plight being reported worldwide and even ending up being featured in an award-winning BBC documentary - 'Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of a Missing Princess.'
The luxury yacht Latifa was staying on with a friend was stormed by commandos in the Indian Ocean in March 2018 and she had not been seen out in the public since. The Free Latifa campaign was started in the endeavor to help the princess attain freedom from the clutches of her father, which had called for The UN’s Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) to intervene in the case.
The WGEID recently found that the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances had been breached and that ruler of Dubai should be investigated and brought to justice. The verdict also called for adequate compensation should be given to Latifa.
“This is a terrific judgment, and we are encouraged that it will lead to freedom for Latifa," Human rights lawyer David Haigh, who co-founded the Free Latifa campaign, said. "We’re particularly pleased the WGEID didn’t allow itself to be intimidated by the refusal of the UAE government to cooperate with it or be taken in by the UAE’s dishonesty and deception but instead have relied on the considerable evidence we submitted."
The WGEID chief rapporteur Tae-Ung Baik wrote in a letter to Haigh that his group had concluded that “Sheikha Latifa is currently held in incommunicado detention in… Dubai.” The group, he said, was "concerned" for the princess' health and safety. Having done with the first part of its role, which was locating where Latifa was being held, WGEID now has brought on board several other UN working groups, including those which deal with violence against women, arbitrary detention, and torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, to take the case further.
“We’re grateful that the WGEID have ensured the UN will keep pressing for fair treatment for Latifa under the requirements of international law," Haigh added. "Because the perpetrator of Latifa’s detention is her father who rules the country, the fox is still in charge of the hen house, but the WGEID’s judgment is a slap in the face for Sheikh Mohammed’s despotic rule and his disregard for his daughter’s human rights, and we very much believe this could see a route open for the release of Latifa.”
Tiina Jauhiainen, the co-founder of the Free Latifa campaign, said, “Once again we have Dubai breaking international law, failing to respond to United Nations requests, and abusing the human rights of the ruler’s own family. How much longer will the world stand idly by while a state seeking acceptance in the developed world rides roughshod over the laws and values that are integral to our society and international community? The UN has now found that my friend Latifa, kidnapped at gunpoint in March 2018, is detained against her will in Dubai in breach of international law. The UN and the international community must now enforce this finding and require the UAE to free Latifa and bring the UAE and Indian perpetrators to justice."
The UAE continues to insist that Latifa is alive, safe, and living with her family in Dubai. But Latifa’s UK-based legal team had filed a 76-page submission to the WGEID earlier in the year, calling for the immediate release of the royal.
Latifa’s cousin Marcus Essabri, who now lives in England, also welcomed the WGEID's decision, adding, “I have known Latifa since she was a little girl. She is a wonderful woman who wants nothing more than to go out and see the world and find her natural place in it. I am overwhelmed by the support for my cousin and cannot not thank the WGEID members enough for their commitment to securing justice for her. But we are up against a ruler who doesn’t care about world opinion unless it really affects him, so our efforts to free Latifa and her sister Shamsa must not only go on but be intensified.”