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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

Oman puts heroic Frenchman on trial for helping Latifa escape ‘years of abuse’

Christian Elombo, 40. Fitness Instructor

Heroic French national Christian Elombo has been charged in Oman with “unlawful deportation” for allegedly helping Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum cross the border from the UAE in her attempt to escape “abuse” in Dubai. The family of Frenchman Christian Elomobo, a fitness and martial arts instructor, plead for his release from Oman's prison. He was arrested upon the request of the UAE shortly after the princess was found to have “escaped" with US/French national Hervé Jaubert and her Finnish friend Tiina Jauhiainen.

In a statement’, Christian’s family says that, "On 3rd March 2018, our family contacted both the Dubai and Oman French Consulates. After no information from either the UAE or Oman, on the 7th of March 2018, Mrs Olivia Lamy, from the French Embassy in Oman, confirmed that Chris had been detained by the national security office of Oman. From other sources that we cannot quote, we were informed that such arrest was made on instruction of the UAE."

Originally, Christian's lawyers said he would face fabricated charges of drug trafficking through Bahrain, a country he hadn't even entered. It seemed that authorities were creating a pretext for locking Christian up indefinitely. However, when news of the Sheikha’s dramatic escape reached the international media, Oman chose not to extradite him to the UAE as had been requested; no doubt realising that the case was far more sensitive than the Emirates had suggested. Christian is one of a number of people connected to Tiina & Latifa, who were rounded up for interrogation, following Latifa's disappearance. A video made by Sheikha Latifa outlined serious allegations of abuse, torture, wrongful imprisonment, murder and other crimes against her and others. It was broadcast after she was illegally kidnapped from international waters by the UAE and its allies. The suffering Latifa recounts in the video fully explains why someone like Christian would have felt morally compelled to help her. His family have said in their statement that, “Chris is a good kind and proud Frenchman, having served his country. He never looks at weight, age, disability, colour or nationality and loves everyone, always looking at what’s good in people and trying to see the good things in every situation.”

Women's rights and human rights organisations and the general public have hailed Christian as a hero and the whole world is keen to see how Oman will treat someone who risked his own safety to help a woman allegedly victimised by years of abuse. Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, who has been instructed to represent Christian and all other parties involved in the escape, including Sheikha Latifa, in a UN application for investigation and other criminal and civil proceedings, said “Before the illegal kidnapping of the six people at sea, Hervé told me that Christian had been arrested in Oman on request of the UAE and it seemed he would be charged with drug trafficking. We are grateful that he is not facing these false charges, but equally, a man who has acted as a taxi for an abused woman, should be given a medal, not a prison sentence. I am in touch with Christian's family who are panicked and grief stricken over this whole affair. His family told me in a phone call 'he is a good man and he would never be able to stand by and do nothing if someone was being hurt. He should not be punished for this'. Anyone who knows Christian, knows him to be a strong and kind person and I have received calls and messages of support from the concerned public and from his friends. If anyone needs to be on trial here, it is those accused by Latifa of the torture and abuse from which Christian was helping her escape; and all those involved in the belligerent act of piracy against Nostromo and its crew and passengers. We call on Oman to free Christian today. We need more people in the world like him". An ongoing investigation into the illegal acts perpetrated by the UAE and its allies shows they have breached several international laws and treaties in their commandeering of Hervé's US registered vessel and its passengers. Stirling continued, “it is extremely arrogant to think that there would be no ramifications to a militarised act against an American yacht. If they wanted Sheikha Latifa back so badly, they should have utilised available legal channels".

In a statement, the Elombo family have reiterated their pleas for the release of Christian and all other parties arrested in this matter, “Chris, Dani, Hervé, Latifa and Tiina are all very special kind and caring human beings, having family and friends all worried about their loving brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and friends. Please release all of them.”

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