Opinion: For Truth-Tellers Like Sheikha Latifa, There Is No Justice
Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum hoped the public would never have to see the forty minute video she created before her attempted escape from Dubai, which was only to be published in the event of a disaster. In the forty-minute clip, she repeatedly tells the camera: “This might be the last video I ever make.”
Latifa is the daughter of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. As she explains in her recording, she previously attempted to flee Dubai in her teens but was caught at the border with Oman, leading to three years of continual torture on the personal orders of her father. As she explains, Latifa is not the only family member who has suffered at the hands of Sheikh Mohammed.
Her sister Shamsa, she said, attempted escape in the UK in 2001 at the age of 19 but was kidnapped off the street by henchmen of Sheikh Mohammed after two months. Articles published by The Guardian confirm both Princess Shamsa’s escape and eventual kidnapping.
On her return to Dubai, Latifa recalls that Shamsa was also imprisoned, tortured, and eventually monitored 24/7 by “medical” personnel, who Latifa characterized as following her sister like a “cage.” In her video, Sheikha Latifa alleges that her father has also been responsible for the deaths of members of the royal family, including his sister-in-law, saying that: “He is responsible for so many deaths. He has ruined so many lives.”
Sheikha Latifa’s tell-all video was given to her legal representatives from the UAE Civil and Criminal Justice Specialists of Detained in Dubai if she were to be killed or go missing. The recording was duly published after Detained in Dubai’s founder Radha Stirling received a phone call from Latifa begging for help and stating there were men aboard the Nostromo, with audible gunfire in the background. Latifa has not been heard from since.
Shahid Bolsen, joint managing partner with the group Detained in Dubai, penned an extremely informative article on the events which followed the creation of Latifa’s filmed testimony, writing that the escape attempt was initiated in late February, 2018: “Latifa escaped the UAE along with her friend Tiina Jauhiaien of Finland, with the help of French-American national Herve Jaubert, a former French intelligence agent. Along with her friend Tiina Jauhiaien of Finland. Latifa was secretly transported across the border with Oman, and escaped on Jaubert’s American registered yacht Nostromo. They sailed for Goa, India with the intention of then flying to the United States to seek asylum.”
Bolsen described the events that followed on March 4th: “Detained in Dubai, with whom Jaubert and Latifa had made contact while at sea, received a panicked call from Latifa saying that the boat was under siege amidst gunfire. Communication ceased at this point, and Detained in Dubai filed missing persons reports for all onboard, and brought the disappearances to the attention of the United Nations, as well as to the international media. Following these steps, Jaubert and Jauhiaien were both subsequently released from the UAE, and we are now learning more details about the events surrounding the capture of Nostromo and its passengers and crew. The actions of the UAE in this matter are astonishing, and give considerable credence to the allegations Latifa made in her video.”
RT’s report on the abduction related the testimony of Herve Jaubert, who stated that at least five warships, two military planes, and a helicopter were deployed in the raid, adding: “We were taken to the UAE. Kidnapped and sent to jail in the UAE, I don’t know where.”
The entire video produced by Princess Latifa just before her doomed attempt to escape is available in full below:
Since news of Latifa’s disappearance emerged, Kim Dotcom and others like Hector Carmona have called tirelessly for her safety and freedom, creating a resounding call for her release from the public. As pointed out by Kim Dotcom and reported by RT, since the public became aware of her fate, Latifa’s Instagram has been taken down. Her last post on the platform reportedly detailed her sister Shamsa’s failed attempt to run away, along with details of her own attempted escape.
Unsurprisingly, however, establishment media outlets have been silent on the subject at the time of writing, except the previously noted RT coverage of the matter. Legacy press silence in the wake the egregious and violent kidnapping is especially surprising and concerning given the fact that almost a month has passed since the event, and even more-so considering the legal ramifications of the context of her abduction.
This author contacted Princess Latifa’s legal representatives with Detained in Dubai thanks to the efforts of equestrian expert Hector Carmona. This author communicated electronically with both Radha Stirling and Shahid Bolsen, who were kind enough to answer our questions. Their answers follow in full and are unedited:
On The Legal Ramifications of Latifa’s Kidnapping:
Radha Stirling: “When a vessel at sea is attacked, looted, and commandeered; and when its passengers and crew are abducted; if this is committed by a non-state actor it is classified as piracy on the high seas, when it is committed by a state (or in this case, committed jointly by two states), it is classified as an act of aggression at the very least, and potentially as an act of war. Nostromo is a US-flagged ship, which means it falls under American jurisdiction, and is regarded at American territory, so the implications of attacking it are quite clear.
The Indian Coast Guard and forces of the UAE, according to the eyewitness victims, came at speed, fired their weapons, and boarded Nostromo with no attempt to establish communication beforehand; they took control of the vessel with excessive force, threw the passengers and crew to the floor and threatened to kill them. Herve Jaubert was badly beaten and suffered extensive bleeding. Tiina Jauhiaien said that she was held over the edge of the boat while being told that she would be killed. Sheikha Latifa, the real target of the raid, was taken away screaming that she was seeking political asylum and that she would rather die than be sent back to the UAE. Legally, Latifa was kidnapped from American territory where she had every right to feel safe, and where neither Indian nor UAE forces had any right to be.”
Shahid Bolsen: “Violations of Maritime Law are traditionally settled before the International Court of Justice. In this case, both India and the UAE used force against a private vessel and unarmed civilians who had committed no crime. There was no legal justification for their raid on Nostromo, nor for taking the crew and passengers into custody. While in custody, abuse, threats, coercion, and forced confessions all occurred; thus the crime of attacking Nostromo resulted in a litany of other crimes committed against the seized persons, all of which deserve to be investigated and tried by a court of law. The political ramifications of this attack are incalculable. The fact that the UAE; recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in US weaponry and training; mobilised its armed forces and those of India to attack an American ship in international waters without the slightest hesitation, because of their contention that “Islamic Law” had been violated, will certainly undermine the global community’s confidence in the UAE’s commitment to its bi- and multilateral agreements pertaining to the rule of law in international affairs; and in particular, in the stewardship of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as the country’s prime minister.”
On Latifa’s Claims Of Sheikh Mohammed’s Involvement In Serious Criminal Activity
Radha Stirling: “Since Latifa’s capture and what we must presume to be her captivity in the UAE, no further evidence has been gathered regarding the many grave allegations she made against her father in the video she recorded before her escape. Of course, this gives us all the more reason to be concerned about Latifa’s wellbeing. We have requested that the Metropolitan Police in London re-open its investigation into the abduction of Sheikha Shamsa nearly 20 years ago, on the basis of the new evidence offered by Latifa about her sister in her video. It is urgently important that Latifa be released and allowed to travel to any country she chooses, and that she be free to testify about these allegations in a safe jurisdiction.”
On The Founding Of Detained In Dubai
Radha Stirling: “I founded Detained in Dubai 10 years ago after a friend of mine was falsely arrested in the UAE and wrongfully detained. Since then we have worked on over 10,000 cases of all sorts involving foreigners in the Emirates. We have provided expert witness testimony in extradition hearings in Europe and the US regarding what we have found to be endemic legal corruption and systemic human rights violations in that country. We have lobbied governments internationally to increase their travel warnings to citizens to make them aware of the potential risks they face in the UAE, the country in which foreigners have the highest likelihood of being arrested.”
How The Public Can Support Efforts To Free Latifa
Radha Stirling: “The response from social media has been tremendous, and it is pushing mainstream coverage to finally address this story. We express our gratitude to the public who have taken it upon themselves to speak out on behalf of Latifa, and we encourage everyone to continue to do so by every available channel. Let your local news outlets know that you want them to talk about this issue; let your political representatives know; and communicate your concerns about the actions of the UAE to any individuals, celebrities, politicians, business leaders, etc, who promote or are otherwise connected to the UAE. We are pressing ahead with what we can do through the courts, but if the court of public opinion orders Latifa’s release, we are hopeful that the UAE will have no choice but to comply with their ruling.”
One is prompted to wonder if a possible reason for corporate media reticence to report on the matter stems in part from what has been called a close personal and business partnership with former United Stated President, Bill Clinton. The Wall Street Journal reported that the pair were two of three owners of Yucaipa Cos, before Bill Clinton eventually ended ties with the fund due to the “politically sensitive nature” of the financial relationship, just prior to Hillary Clinton assuming her role as Secretary of State with the Obama Whitehouse. Clinton was reported to have profited to the tune of at least $10 million on severing ties with the fund.
Hector Carmona, who has a wealth of experience with the equine industry, particularly in the field of dressage, informed this author of the Sheikh’s previous involvement in a horse doping scandal, though the Sheikh was eventually exonerated. Hector also explained that Sheikh Mohammed’s junior wife, Princess Haya, who served as President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), oversaw a culture of horse abuse during her reign.
Princesses are not the only ones tortured for truth-telling. If we do not act, the many Latifas of this planet will continue to be silenced and tortured while we remain complacent and complicit.
In the last few years, the public has been witness to a series of truth-tellers who, instead of being vindicated for their bravery and integrity, are punished in sometimes unimaginable ways. Just before news of Latifa’s attempted escape emerged, Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange was also cut off from communication with the outside world, ostensibly at the behest of Spain, for speaking out on behalf of the unfair politically motivated imprisonment of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.
Likewise, a few years ago the lives of Kalief Browder and his family were destroyed when the teenager refused to falsely admit he had committed a crime, with his honesty resulting in three years spent in Rikers prison without charge or trial, including two years spent in solitary confinement. Examples of atrocities like this seem endless, and the ultimate conclusion drawn is always the same: we cannot wait for change. We must demand it, create it, enact it ourselves by whatever means necessary.
If there is ever to be a real chance for change to happen, the majority of people must come to the clear realization that justice will never come without our personal and direct action. We cannot wait for figures like Princess Latifa, Julian Assange or the uncounted, unknown Kalief Browders of the world to be freed by the powers that want them to disappear and have their memories erased.
Disobedient Media will continue to report on this important story as it develops.
Detained in Dubai recently announced that there will be a press conference on the matter on Thursday, April 12.