FREE SHEIKHA (PRINCESS) LATIFA BINT MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM. #FreeLatifa

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This petition is run by  Tiina Jauhiainen and David Haigh as part of the Free Latifa campaign.

On 24th February 2018, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai fled  Dubai. Princess Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum was attempting to escape her tyrannical father in the company of her trusted friend, Tiina Jauhiainen, and with the help of the crew of US-flagged boat Nostromo. On the night of March 4th, she was recaptured by the joint Indian and Emirati forces and kidnapped at gunpoint and returned to Dubai where she has been detained against her will ever since.

We need your help to put pressure on the respective governments & the international community to demand for urgent answers and her immediate release.

What we want:

We, the citizens of the world, need answers to how a Royal Princess, Sheikha Latifa Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum no less, daughter to one of the world's most powerful men Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum- Ruler of Dubai, vanishes without trace after escaping Dubai and releasing a video accusing her father of torture, murder and stating she feared for her life.


1.    We demand Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to free Princess Latifa Al Maktoum.
 
2.    We demand Latifa to be free to travel to a country of her choice, free from torture, abuse and duress, and be able to associate with whichever friends, advisors and lawyers she chooses.
 
3.    We plead for immediate support from the authorities of those who are affected. We implore the United Nations to intervene.
 
4.    We demand that both the UAE and India immediately appoint an independent investigator of international standing, to be approved by the United Nations and Latifa’s representatives Tiina Jauhiainen and David Haigh to investigate and report on the above events. Any report to be made public.

Why we want it/background:

On the night of March 4th, 2018, an unprecedented international incident took place in which a significant Indian and UAE military force converged and carried out an unprovoked attack on a small, American boat off the coast of Goa, India. This force – consisting of at least two state-of-the-art ships from the Indian coast guard, a UAE Navy frigate, several hundred men, including an elite commando unit and a detachment of the UAE armed and state security forces, helicopters and planes – was sent to illegally capture and kidnap one young woman.

On that night, Indian commandos boarded the yacht Nostromo, savagely beat and tortured the crew of the ship, and dragged the woman away, illegally ignoring her desperate pleas for asylum. That they did this even when they knew they were blatantly violating international law by attacking an American ship in international waters speaks of the power of the man they indirectly served. That man is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the unelected and unchallenged ruler of Dubai, and the woman whose dream of freedom was brutally and violently crushed that night was his daughter, Princess Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.


“They told me that your father told us to beat you until we kill you. That’s his orders. Your father’s orders. Your father, the ruler of Dubai, that’s what he said.”

Every individual, regardless of background, has the right of self-determination. That right was snatched from Latifa in what was effectively a state-sponsored kidnapping. That is why there is masses at stake in our campaign to give Latifa the right to leave Dubai in safety. Personal rights, in particular women’s rights, will suffer a setback if Latifa is not freed.

For nine months the UAE were silent over the fate of Latifa. It was only after the BBC screened ‘Escape from Dubai’ on 6 December 2018, an hour-long documentary that Tiina, David and the team had produced with the BBC, that the UAE were forced to reveal they had abducted Latifa. Days later we now know that Latifa’s stepmother paid for her friend Mary Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to provide a veneer of respectability by visiting Dubai and testifying that Latifa “regrets trying to escape” and was back “in the loving care of her family”. Robinson was roundly condemned for those comments and for interfering in a live human rights issue; she has partially retracted her comments.


It’s now one year since Latifa was abducted. She is still being held in Dubai against her will, by the very family she  spent two decades trying to flee.  In her pre-escape video, Latifa predicted that if she was captured, she would either be killed or drugged and jailed. Ironically, Mary Robinson’s interference, which was met with worldwide condemnation, has confirmed that Latifa’s fears have come true.


The bid for Latifa's freedom  continues through legal battles, UN examinations, and police and FBI investigations. Each week, more and more people learn of Latifa’s plight  and Latifa has inspired other women across the Middle East to flee. Yet she continues to languish in what she described as “hell”. It is time for the international community and everyone – especially women – across the world to unite and fight for her freedom.


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You can check http://www.freelatifa.com  for latest updates and ways to get involved with the campaign!


Tiina Jauhiainen and David Haigh
 

Campaign to #FreeLatifa



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