Yet another lawsuit has been filed against a Gulf actor, this time for “ordering staff to kill Americans on US soil”. But this is, by no means an isolated incident, and after the death of Jamal Khashoggi, the increasing belligerent behaviour of Gulf nations needs to be addressed by the US government.
Legal action has been taken in the United States against Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the brother of the Emir of Qatar. Sheikh Khalid has been accused of ordering his staff to kill Americans on US soil, beating his chauffeur to death and sexually assaulting a male prostitute with a pool cue. The Sheikh has been accused of brutally beating the girlfriend of one of the claimants to stop the suit.
The allegations against the Sheikh are grave. A witness claims the prince drove out to the desert and beat his chauffeur to death in front of him. Along with murder claims, death threats, accusations of wrongful imprisonment and foul play, witnesses recall his threats, “You can call your father and tell him that you are going to be buried in the desert”.
In 2018, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makroum, the Ruler of Dubai, orchestrated an attack on a US flagged yacht, falsely claiming that his runaway daughter, Princess Latifa, had been abducted. A full militarised attack on the ship Nostromo, led to Latifa’s abduction and continued imprisonment in Dubai, as well as the rendition of an American citizen Hervé Jaubert, in contravention of international law. Despite deceiving the US that Latifa was “kidnapped” and despite a serious assault and abduction of an American national in international waters, the UAE has seemingly gone unpunished. Sheikh Mohammed had previously abducted another daughter, Sheikha Shamsa, from British soil 18 years earlier.
Perhaps it is this fact that the UAE went unpunished, that gave Saudi Arabia the confidence, arrogance and sense of impunity required to execute a citizen on foreign soil.
Another Emirates ruler, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qassim, of Ras Al Khaimah, has taken the same lawless approach in targeting multiple foreign nationals, including US national, Oussama El Omari. Sheikh Saud has instructed external Western companies, including Dechert law, to act in partnership against former employees whose knowledge puts his rule at risk. The Sheikh has called on diplomatic immunity protections from lawsuits against him. However, a number of lawsuits have been opened against his Western partners, including Dechert. The claims against RAK & its partners are for everything from hacking and wrongful Interpol notices to corrupting foreign courts, threats, wrongful imprisonment, human rights abuses and torture.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International, who was instructed by Princess Latifa and Hervé Jaubert, and a number of victims of the government of Ras Al Khaimah said in a statement:
“Western allies in the Gulf appear to interpret their strategic alliances as licenses to kill, to kidnap, to torture, and that their usefulness to the West puts them above the law. They have been able to further immunise themselves against accountability by investing millions of dollars in the UK and US. Qatar, for instance, owns several iconic properties and influential institutions in Britain. We have to question, however, if our ‘partners’ in the Gulf are acting in good faith. Their lawlessness has been escalating over the past 10 years and they seem to be trading good relations for tacit permission to act as despots. British and American citizens are not protected in Gulf countries, and apparently are not protected from Gulf countries even in America and the UK. These countries are increasingly behaving as though they enjoy global jurisdiction on the basis of their status as Western allies, and this should cause us to question the wisdom of maintaining that status.”