Updated: May 5, 2018
Guernica 37 are currently instructed to act for Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, 33, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and UAE vice-president in relation to her alleged abduction and arbitrary detention by the Dubai royal family, and two of her friends, Mr Herve Jaubert, and Ms Tiina Jauhiainen.
On 30 March 2018, Guernica 37 filed an urgent communication with the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID) requesting an investigation into the princess’ abduction and arbitrary detention, along with that of Herve Jaubert, and Tiina Jauhiainen.
Sheikha Latifa fled from Dubai state in late February 2018 with her friend Tiina Jauhiainen, after suffering years of abuse at the hands of her family and being held a virtual prisoner. In her escape she was helped by Hervé Jaubert, a 62-year-old former French secret agent turned businessman.
He picked up Sheikha Latifa in neighbouring Oman where she had travelled to with Ms. Jauhiainen, and together they set out for India on a US-registered yacht, the Nostromo, belonging to Mr Jaubert. About 30 miles off the coast of Goa, however, the boat was stopped by a number of armed ships, planes and a helicopter and thereafter, boarded by the Indian coastguard. Shots were fired, and occupants of the yacht were held at gunpoint during this Indian-UAE operation.
The prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, is said to have approved the interception of the yacht, and the princess’ repatriation to Dubai at the request of the royal family. Individuals aboard the yacht were under arrest for a crime under Islamic Law, namely the taking away the daughter from the custody of her father. However, they were simply helping the princess to flee from her family.
The princess, Ms. Jauhiainen, and Mr Jaubert were taken back to the UAE. Jauhiainen and Jaubert have since been released but Sheikha Latifa has not been heard from. The Indian and UAE governments have made no comment about the raid to capture Sheikha Latifa. It is believed that Sheikha Latifa is arbitrarily detained by the royal family in Dubai without a charge for an offence and without an access to a lawyer.
In their communication, Guernica 37 argued that the seizure of the US-registered yacht in international waters without any warning and capture of Sheikha Latifa without any legal basis constitute breaches of international law and of Sheikha Latifa’s fundamental and human rights.
The UN WGEID decision on whether to start an investigation into Sheikha Latifa’s enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention is pending.