Latifa case a turning point for UAE; US concern growing
Detained in Dubai CEO Radha Stirling, a leading international expert on Human Rights and legal abuse in the UAE, is currently in Washington D.C. to address the Frontiers of Freedom conference entitled, “Saudi Arabia & UAE: Regional Adventures & US Interests”, during which she will discuss the UAE’s March 4th illegal raid on US-registered yacht, Nostromo, in international waters, and the subsequent abduction of all onboard, undertaken in an effort to recapture the fleeing daughter of Sheikh Mohammed, the Ruler of Dubai. Stirling will explain the ramifications of this act, as well as what she describes as the “dangerous trajectory” of the Emirates’ behaviour as illustrated most recently by the life sentence imposed on academic researcher Matthew Hedges. While in Washington, Stirling will be meeting with government officials, journalists, academics, and counterparts in the field of Human Rights.
“The case of Princess Latifa marks a turning point for the UAE”, Stirling said; referring to the escape attempt by Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, daughter of UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “Latifa leveled grave allegations against her father; including her own and her sister’s torture at his hands over the course of years. The accusations she made in the video filmed before her escape mention crimes committed by her father up to and including murder. Latifa tried to escape, and the UAE mobilised not only its own military to recapture her, but recruited the assistance of the Indian Coast Guard as well. They conducted a joint raid on an American vessel in international waters; beating and abducting everyone aboard, including US and European citizens; and Latifa has not been heard from since. Given Latifa’s own allegations against her father, and considering the fate of Jamal Khashoggi and the UAE’s reported role in that crime; there is every reason to fear for Latifa’s safety.
“The FBI has opened an investigation into the attack on Nostromo, and the UAE’s abduction of American citizen Herve Jaubert; and I am encouraged that the United States is beginning to register the gravity of this incident. The fact that Frontiers of Freedom, one of the most respected public policy foundations in Washington, is hosting a conference examining the UAE’s behaviour and its impact on US interests, is an important step.
“I look forward to discussions with policy makers, businesspeople, researchers, analysts and activists while I am in here Washington, to bring greater attention to the dangerous trajectory of the UAE’s behaviour, particularly in light of the Latifa case. We are seeing an emergence of religious extremism within the government, increasing disregard for the rule of law, indifference to bi- and multilateral treaty obligations, and a new, belligerent adventurism by the UAE, perhaps connected to their deepening alliance with Saudi Arabia.
“The United States has every cause for concern, and I am very glad to see signs of this concern emerging among policy makers.”
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