UAE: UK High Court decision on Dubai ruler’s detention of daughter a ‘step towards justice’

Responding to the UK High Court finding that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai, detained and ill-treated his daughter Sheikha Latifa, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

“This ruling is a long-overdue step towards justice for Sheikha Latifa, who has been held incommunicado for two years now. Dubai and the UAE must now allow her to speak and travel freely, including seeking asylum abroad, if she wishes to do so.

“Throughout the hearing, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has insisted these are ‘private family matters’ – but state-sanctioned abduction and inhuman treatment is not a family affair. It is a serious human rights violation, and a matter of international concern.

“Federal law in the UAE leaves women unprotected and undermined, which too often leaves them vulnerable to abuse by male family members.”


Yesterday’s judgment by the UK High Court of Justice’s Family Division confirms Amnesty International’s findings with regards to the UAE’s abduction, detention and abuse of Sheikha Latifa.

Sheikha Latifa made two unsuccessful attempts to flee her family. After the first attempt in 2002, she was imprisoned by her father for three years. In the second attempt in March 2018, she was abducted at sea off the Indian coast and forcibly returned to Dubai, where she remains under house arrest.

Amnesty International investigated and reported on this incident based on the available documentation and witness accounts from those aboard the Nostromo, the boat from which she was seized in international waters while trying to flee from the UAE.