To mark the six-month anniversary of the kidnap and enforced disappearance of Princess Latifa, Amnesty International issued a public statement on 4th of September, calling for her urgent release together with a detailed report on her kidnaping.
Sheikha Latifa Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. Her attempt to flee abuse and torture by her family ended in a brutal attack and illegal capture on 4th of March 2018. She has been held incommunicado in an undisclosed location by the UAE since she was forcibly returned there.
Amnesty International wrote to the UAE Foreign Ministry on 1 August 2018 to inquire about the case, and to the Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi on 31 August 2018 but has received no response to date. Amnesty is calling on the UAE to grant Sheikha Al Maktoum full and unrestricted freedom of movement and communication with the outside world; to investigate allegations of her mistreatment in detention, from 2002 to present; and to take measures to hold accountable officials at any level who may be complicit in holding her incommunicado.
Detained in Dubai partner David Haigh, himself a victim of UAE torture and injustice. said: “The UAE continues to defy the calls from around the world for her release. We have approached them; Human Rights Watch has approached them; the United Nations has approached them; and now Amnesty International is approaching them to free Latifa. We will keep pushing for answers and accountability, and we will continue demanding Latifa’s release until she is finally freed and allowed to travel to a safe jurisdiction to live in security”,
Radha Stirling, the CEO of Detained in Dubai, has been involved in Latifa’s case from the very beginning. Stirling has noticed a systematic pattern in how the UAE tries to sweep Latifa’s enforced disappearance under the carpet. “It has been confirmed to us by contacts in the UAE that there is a government-ordered blackout on any coverage of the Latifa case; and anyone posting about it on social media, or even sharing news articles from the international press, will be prosecuted under the country’s cybercrime laws”, Stirling points out.
Amnesty International also notes in its statement that the case of Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, in addition to the grave concerns it raises about the violation of her rights and her own individual wellbeing, also highlights issues of gender inequality in the UAE. The underlying motive for Dubai’s abduction, and its reported previous torture of Sheikha Al Maktoum, appears to be retribution for her transgression of the royal family’s gender norms, which do not allow daughters to live independently of the male-led household and a desperate desire by her father the ruler to cover up his terrible secrets, including murder of family members Princess Latifa said.
The organisation concludes its statement by highlighting the importance of gender equality: “Amnesty International calls on the UAE to respect and uphold women’s rights as legal co-equals with men and, accordingly, to eliminate discriminatory legislation and related social practices”.
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