Detained in Dubai held a press conference in London on the 12th of April 2018 on the kidnapping of Dubai Princess Sheikha Latifa AL Maktoum (ii), Hervé Jaubert, Tiina Jauhiainen and three Filipino crew members onboard US sailboat Nostromo from International waters by the UAE and India last month.
It was the first time that kidnap and torture victims Herve and Tiina spoke to the press and answered questions, in a packed press conference, streamed live around the world.
On 26 February 2018, Princess Latifa, daughter of the ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister and Vice President of of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, left Dubai, UAE along with her long time friend Tiina Jauhiainen. They joined Hervé Jaubert on his US registered yacht Nostromo in international waters off Oman where they sailed towards Goa, India, where Latifa had intended to depart and travel to the US to seek asylum. Latifa, and Herve were in regular contact with Detained in Dubai and Latifa told the world in her last Instagram post and in her later released video that she had left Dubai fleeing what she described as ‘years of abuse’ at the hands of her father who was “one of the most evil men in the world”.
On March 4th 2018, the United Arab Emirates and the Indian Coast Guard illegally attacked the American flagged yacht Nostromo at gunpoint in international waters. Nostromo was commandeered, looted, and they violently apprehended all those on board, including an American citizen, a Finnish citizen, three Filipino crew members, and Sheikha Latifa. The men were beaten and tortured and all were taken back to the UAE against their will where they were each kept in solitary confinement and interrogated without charge for approximately 2 weeks.
Latifa was last seen being dragged onto a rubber speed boat on the 5th March 2018 by Indian and Emirati forces, screaming that she was claiming political asylum and telling her captors that she would rather they “kill me now; I will never go back to the UAE”. The whereabouts of Sheikha Latifa remain unknown and we do not know if she is alive or dead.
Hervé Jaubert, Tiina Jauhiainen and the crew of Nostromo were eventually released without charge on or around 29th March 2018, with the warning that they must never reveal publicly anything that had occurred.
Both Tiina and Hervé were released from the UAE after being forced to sign apparent non disclosure agreements and being threatened by Sheikh Mohammed that he could kidnap them again from anywhere in the world if they spoke about the incident. The UAE security forces them harassed Tiina and Herve’s family with follow threatening phones calls. Fearing for Latifa’s safety and their own, they felt it imperative to speak for themselves and for their friend, Sheikha Latifa.
At Thursday’s press conference, speaking to the world’s media were the direct witnesses Tiina Jauhiainen & Hervé Jaubert, Detained in Dubai’s Radha Stirling and David Haigh who represent all parties involved, including Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum. The press conference was chaired by Toby Cadman of Guernica Chambers, who has been instructed by Detained in Dubai to represent Tiina Jauhiainen & Hervé Jaubert and Sheikha Latifa in legal proceedings and with an application to the United Nations for urgent intervention.
David Haigh, partner at Detained in Dubai detailed that while initial attempts were made by the UAE to deny the identity of Sheikha Latifa, the country could no longer distract media with photographs or stories of the other daughters that hold the same name and thanked the British media for their pursuit of the truth. David said, “sadly for the UAE I first became acquainted with the Princess when I worked in Dubai almost ten years ago, she was the best friend of one of my staff members. Even then I had learnt of the suffering she endured at the hands of her family and that she was saving money to leave Dubai.”
Ms Stirling detailed the UAE’s recurring record of human rights abuses and suggested that western countries need to review their alliances with a country who has been blatantly willing to break international laws and treaties.
The Daily Mail reported that Arab agents attended the conference for the sole purpose of trying to discredit Detained in Dubai and to distract media from focussing on the story.
Mr Haigh told the media that since working on Latifa’s case, both he and Ms Stirling had been subjected to computer and phone hacking, and hatchet attempts to discredit them in state controlled media as well as surveillance and death threats. It is also known that Detained in Dubai received a credible bomb threat immediately after filing missing persons reports for the passengers and crew of Nostromo. Haigh made the point that they can not discredit the story and so they seek to try to discredit the people telling the story. Laughter was heard throughout the room when random allegations of being “Qatari funded” were raised (and dispelled by Mr Cadman).
Ms Stirling said "the United Arab Emirates not only reached well beyond their jurisdiction and legal rights, they did so in an effort to impose their unwritten interpretation of Islamic Law in flagrant disregard for their international obligations, treaties, and diplomatic relations. They attacked a private US vessel in international waters, which is tantamount to attacking the United States. They tore down the American flag, and kidnapped everyone on board, including a US citizen. These actions demonstrate a contempt for the Rule of Law that simply cannot be ignored".
BBC’s John McManus tweeted “Reported on these allegations about the disappearance of a Dubai princess yesterday for @bbcworldservice - more than 24 hours later, still no response from @UAEEmbassyUK or Indian High Commission.
Public support is growing for the release of Sheikha Latifa and for the ruler of Dubai to be brought to justice. Trending hashtags on twitter #HelpLatifa #FindLatifa #FreeLatifa #SheikhaLatifa have been gaining strong momentum, with Fox’s Sean Hannity and Kim DotCom having tweeted the press conference and raised awareness.
Detained in Dubai and Toby Cadman are both working on Sheikha Latifa’s case pro bono. However in order to cover the costs of supporting the ongoing investigations and depositions to various courts, there is an effort to raise funds here: https://www.gofundme.com/FreeLatifa
Escape from Dubai
A website has been created to act as a central hub for information, press and updates on all activities concerning Sheikha Latifa, it can be found at www.escapefromdubai.org - an appeal for help has also been launched for “...lawyers in US, France, Finland, documentary filmmakers, Human Rights Lawyers, Investigative Journalists, Artists, Activists, Online Marketers, PR & Media Relations, SEO Experts, Web Designers and More.” please use the ‘contact us’ pages at escapefromdubai.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. All help is gratefully received.
The Guernica Group
The Guernica Group have released a supporting statement concerning the press conference held by Detained in Dubai, in London. “Press Conference: Enforced Disappearance of Sheikha Latifa al Maktoum” (12/4/2018) - which can be found here:
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