Christian Elombo was arrested in Oman in early March upon the request of the UAE for allegedly transporting Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum across the UAE-Oman border to assist her escape from what she describes as ‘years of abuse’ at the hands of her father; Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE.
The Omani court found that Christian had never entered the UAE at all, and had, at most, driven Latifa within Oman, delivering her safely to the American registered yacht of Herve Jaubert, Nostromo, that was to bring her to India, where she then planned to take a flight to the US to seek political asylum. Christian was therefore, appropriately released and allowed to return home.
Today, April 6th, Christian was arrested in Luxembourg because the UAE has reported him to Interpol on charges of “kidnapping”.
Needless to say, this is a shocking development. It is shocking for many reasons, but chiefly because it means that the UAE is going to try to claim that its March 4th attack on Jaubert’s yacht in international waters, conducted along with the Indian Coast Guard, was actually a rescue mission.
Now, why should this be shocking? As we have already explained, it would have been hard enough for the UAE to claim that their illegal raid on Nostromo was based on a belief at the time that Latifa had been kidnapped. Latifa had attempted to escape previously; she had informed her family and friends of her intention to escape; she posted on social media that she wanted to escape; and she notified her family that she had escaped once she was outside the UAE. Also, when Christian was arrested in Oman and questioned by police, he told them that Latifa had sought his help to run away from the abuse she suffered in the Emirates. UAE authorities received no ransom request and no kidnappers contacted them with a list of demands.
In other words, even prior to their capture of Latifa on March 4th, the UAE had every reason to believe that Latifa had fled the country of her own volition.
Even the manner in which the Indian Coast Guard raided Nostromo indicates that the UAE knew that Latifa was not being held hostage and was in no danger. According to witnesses aboard Nostromo at the time of the raid, Indian forces came at full speed, guns blazing, and mounted a full scale assault, with no attempt to establish contact with the vessel, no attempt to determine where Latifa was on the boat or if she was safe, or even alive. For all they knew, had they genuinely believed she had been kidnapped, Latifa could have had a gun to her head or been wired with explosives. But they did not exhibit the slightest caution in this regard; again, because they knew perfectly well that she was safe.
So, for the UAE to pretend that they thought it was a kidnapping before they attacked Nostromo is already utterly implausible. But to make the claim now that her escape was a kidnapping after all the facts of the story have been revealed is truly dumbfounding.
Millions of people, and one presumes UAE authorities are among that number, have viewed the video Sheikha Latifa made before her escape in which she describes in detail all that she has suffered at the hands of her father, Sheikh Mohammed. Millions of people have heard Latifa saying that she was going to flee the UAE. Readers of major media around the world have now read the eye witness accounts stating that Latifa was screaming as Indian forces attacked the boat that she was seeking political asylum and that she would rather die than be sent back to the UAE. Everyone knows now that Herve Jaubert and Latifa’s closest friend Tiina Jauhiaien, who, according to the Emirates’ farcical narrative, would be co-conspirators in a kidnapping; were released from UAE custody without charge, and were warned to never discuss anything that had occurred.
UAE authorities even told Jaubert explicitly that he had not broken any actual laws, but that they viewed helping Latifa escape as a violation of Islamic Law, and that this is why his boat, crew and passengers were attacked and abducted. They believed, he was told, that he had “kidnapped” Latifa from her father; because as a woman, she must remain in the custody of a male relative at all times.
By formalising a charge of kidnapping, as defined by their own cultural interpretation of Islamic Law and without reference to any real existing applicable definitions, the UAE and Sheikh Mohammed are asking Interpol and Luxembourg to become agents of the Emirati version of Shari’ah Law. Furthermore, they are apparently intent on seeking to justify their illegal attack on Nostromo on the same precept, i.e., that their perception of Islamic Law supersedes their obligations to International Law, Maritime Law, and the multilateral treaties to which they are signatories. In other words, they are announcing to the world that they are a law unto themselves, which, to sane ears is another way of saying they are criminals.
Written by Shahid King Bolsen, Partner. Detained in Dubai.