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Illegal seizure of the US flagged yacht carrying Sheikha Latifa on bid for asylum must be answered

Nostromo, US yacht illegally seized off coast of India

A number of things have become clear over the past several days regarding the disappearance of Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum.

First of all, it is clear that she was who she said she was. Not only was this confirmed by endless individuals who know Latifa and were concerned about her safety; but also by the very fact that she was apparently apprehended BY the UAE in an extrajudicial raid on the yacht on which she was fleeing the country. Furthermore, she was traveling with her friend, Finnish citizen Tiina Jauhiaien, who is known to have been a friend of the Sheikha for almost a decade; which was confirmed by Tina’s family and evidenced by records of correspondence via text messaging and photographs of the two together.

There is no room for doubt regarding Latifa’s identity.

This brings us to the next point that has been made clear; the yacht of Herve Jaubert, the American flagged Nostromo, was in fact illegally intercepted in international waters, boarded, and commandeered either by the UAE, by the Indian Coast Guard, or possibly by a Private Military Company hired by the UAE. The vessel was taken by force to a military base in Fujairah, and everyone on board was held captive until the subsequent release of Jaubert and Tina Jauhiaien; which also means that Latifa herself is almost certainly still being held against her will by the very government she was attempting to flee.

There was absolutely no legal basis for stopping Nostromo, and no justification for holding its crew and passengers in custody. The release of the ship’s captain, Herve Jaubert, the release of Jauhiaien, and presumably the ship’s crew, clearly illustrate that even the UAE did not regard them as fugitives or otherwise guilty of any criminal activity that would potentially warrant the raid and seizure of the boat.