The families of Herve Jaubert and Tina Jauhiaien have stated that both have been released by the UAE and are on their way home. If this information is accurate, it appears to confirm that their illegal abduction at sea, the interception of an American flagged vessel in international waters, was carried out either by the United Arab Emirates, or by another state at the behest of the UAE. Their subsequent release does not absolve the UAE of responsibility for what was fundamentally a criminal action. Any vessel sailing under the US flag falls under the jurisdiction of the United States, and any aggression against such a vessel constitutes an act of aggression against America.
The boat was sailing legally, and no one on board had committed a crime, unless the UAE wants to prosecute Sheikha Latifa for traveling to Oman without an exit stamp from the UAE on her passport. The interception of Jaubert’s yacht needs to be investigated and explained; because on the face of it, there was no legal justification for such an action.
And of course, while the release of Jaubert and Jauhiaien are welcome, the fate of Latifa Al Maktoum is still unclear. Her freedom was important enough to her that she arranged her “escape” from the UAE, even though, in her own words, she felt her life was in danger for doing so. She is apparently now in the custody of the Emirates, and this raises grave concerns about her wellbeing.
Prior to her escape, Latifa made a video in which she recounted abuse, torture, detention, and forced drugging allegedly imposed on the orders of her father, Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai; against herself and her elder sister Shamsa. In the face of such allegations, Latifa now likely being in UAE custody is cause for alarm; particularly in light of the lawless manner in which she and her companions were seized from their vessel.
If Latifa is not allowed to leave the UAE, if she is detained now for having left the UAE, this would constitute a serious violation of her right to free movement, a crime in International Law. Her stated intention was to flee the UAE and seek asylum in the United States, and if she is prevented from pursuing this aim, the UAE must provide a sound legal reason for preventing her.
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