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Press Conference: Enforced Disappearance of Sheikha Latifa al Maktoum

On 12 April 2018 a Press Conference was held in London to discuss the 'enforced disappearance' of Sheikha Latifa Mohammed Al Maktoum, daughter of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

The whereabouts of Sheikha Latifa is currently unknown, however, given the circumstances of her abduction in international waters as part of a joint military operation by India and the United Arab Emirates, and reports in the media, it is believed that she has been abducted by her father and/or his agents; accordingly, she is believed to be in the custody of the UAE authorities, detained against her will.

As a consequence of the above, she is subject to ‘Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance’, and further if it is confirmed that she is in the custody of the UAE authorities, she is being ‘Arbitrarily Detained’.

Given the grave circumstances of the abduction and subsequent detention, and, that which gave rise to her taking such drastic measures to flee Dubai in the first instance, the treatment, leading up to her disappearance clearly constitutes the legal definition of ‘Torture’ on the available evidence, and the treatment following her abduction as detailed in the factual outline meets the threshold of ‘Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’ if not torture.

It is noted that the circumstances of her situation, her attempts to flee the clutches of an authoritarian regime led by her father, her treatment that has lasted a number of years, and the lengths to which the UAE authorities were prepared to go to prevent her escape. This culminated in the abduction of at least five individuals, the seizure of a US-flagged yacht in a joint India-UAE military operation and the detained individuals being held incommunicado, beaten, threatened and forced to sign false confessions and non-disclosure agreements as to their treatment.

The Press Conference, convened by the non-profit group, Detained in Dubai, was chaired by Toby Cadman, with Radha Stirling and David Haigh from Detained in Dubai discussing their involvement in the case, and two of those persons detained, Tiina Jauhiainen, a Finnish national, and Jean-Pierre Herve Jaubert, a dual US-French national, talking about their ordeal at the hands of Indian and UAE authorities.

Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers has been instructed by Detained in Dubai to file an urgent communication to the UN Special Procedures Branch in Geneva and to advise on legal routes to seek redress through national courts.

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