top of page
  • Detained in Dubai

Caitlin McNamara sexual assault in the UAE

"Assault" on Hay Festival employee highlights archaic and dangerous UAE attitudes towards women and Sheikh Nayan is a known abuser.  Radha Stirling, founder Detained in Dubai issued the following statement today on the incident:

"32 year old Caitlin McNamara has spoken to media about her allegations of sexual harassment by Sheikh Nayan bin Mubarak Al Nayan, Minister of Tolerance in the UAE and a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family.

"McNamara has vowed never to return to the Gulf again after reporting her sexual assault to Scotland Yard, who have also been investigating the kidnapping of Sheikh Shamsa, daughter of the ruler of Dubai, from UK soil. Since the Times on Sunday article this morning, Detained in Dubai has become aware of other incidences of sexual assault by Sheikh Nayan while in the UK and we encourage other victims to cooperate with Scotland Yard.

"McNamara had been employed by the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts in Abu Dhabi for six months before the attack.  It was the Festival’s first collaboration with the UAE who has spent millions in public relations efforts to attract talent in the arts and literature sectors to the country. Women speakers and promoters were particularly targeted to help the country overturn its misogynistic appearance, particularly in light of Princess Haya’s allegations that her young daughter had been promised to MBS, and the guardianship laws which have been under public discussion.

"But the arts and literary sectors, as well as education, have been lobbied by human rights activists and advised to avoid the region until changes are made and certainly, until Princess Latifa is free.  It is inappropriate for the Hay Festival, who supports freedom of speech, to be collaborating with Abu Dhabi in a joint event in a country that jails people for a tweet, for sharing a facebook post, a charity post, for offending the government or speaking about the kidnapping and imprisonment of Princess Latifa.  It is just as contradictory as perhaps Ricky Martin putting on a concert in a country that condemns, persecutes, jails and even executes homosexuals, or even people who wear skinny jeans. Given LGBTQ representation in the arts and literary sectors of the UK, again, it seems inappropriate that the Hay Festival would collaborate with a country who has jailed a British man for wearing skinny jeans and who still holds the death penalty for homosexuality.

"The sexual assault of McNamara is not an isolated incident but something that <