India accused of violating international treaties in sending back Dubai ruler's daughter
India has been accused of playing a role in a high-seas drama that resulted in the forced capture of a runaway Dubai princess in international waters.
Detained in Dubai, a non-governmental organisation that says it "assist[s] people who have become victims of injustice in the United Arab Emirates", claims that India helped the UAE to 'illegally' and 'violently' intercept a ship that was carrying Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum.
Following the alleged forceful interception, Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, who is the daughter of the ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was sent back the Gulf state where her current whereabouts remain unknown, Detained in Dubai says.
The alleged interception happened on March 4 in international waters and saw the involvement of the Indian Coast Guard, according to a statement released by Detained in Dubai. The NGO's claims are based partly on allegations made by Herve Jaubert, a French-American national who was commandeering the ship that was allegedly raided by Indian and UAE forces.
Jaubert is widely reported to be a former French spy and has claimed in an interview with Detained in Dubai that he agreed to help Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum escape from the UAE "because she said she was abused and tortured by her father".
Jaubert says that in late February he sailed out from the UAE on his American-flagged yacht Nostromo. The yacht had Sheikha Latifa, her friend Tiina Jauhiaien, and three Filipino crew members onboard.
A few days later, on March 4, Nostromo was allegedly intercepted in international waters by Indian forces, who Jaubert claims attacked the ship, boarded it, "beat us severely with guns, and they robbed us".
The force that attacked the boat, according to Jaubert, included "five warships, two planes and a helicopter". Jaubert, however, doesn't specify if all the warships and aircraft belonged to the Indian Coast Guard.
After the interception, Sheikha Latifa, her friend Jauhiaien, the Nostromo's crew and Jaubert were taken to the UAE "against their will where they were each kept in solitary confinement and interrogated for approximately two weeks," Detained in Dubai says in its statement.
Jaubert, Jauhiaien and the Filipino crew members were later released from custody but the whereabouts of Sheikha Latifa remain unknown, the NGO adds. "The fact that Latifa herself said that the UAE 'wanted her dead' intensifies the urgency of finding her and securing her freedom," Detained in Dubai, which has plans to call a press conference in London over the incident, says.
Detained in Dubai has accused India and the UAE of violating "a whole host of laws and treaties to which both countries are obligated" and says that "ramifications from this act of aggression are as massive as they are disturbing".
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs or the Ministry of Defence, which governs the Indian Coast Guard, have not commented on the allegations.