Indian Armed Forces named in complaint to ICC over kidnapping of Dubai princess

Indian Armed Forces named in complaint to ICC over kidnapping of Dubai princess

Complaint says armed forces colluded with Dubai’s ruler in hostile boarding of US yacht, abduction of Princess Latifa

By Necva Tastan​​​​​​​

ISTANBUL (AA) – India’s Armed Forces have been accused of being involved in the March 2018 abduction of Princess Latifa, the daughter of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, according to a complaint lodged with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague in the Netherlands.

A crime report attached to the complaint accuses the South Asian country’s armed forces of colluding with Sheikh Mohammed and taking part in the “hostile boarding of a US flagged yacht in international waters, armed assault and grievous bodily harm, conspiracy to commit murder, threatening life, kidnapping and unlawful detention, trespass, theft and unlawful damage to property and human rights violations and torture.”

Sheikh Mohammad is accused of “crimes against humanity in the Nostromo incident,” according to New Delhi-based The Wire.

Lawyer and solicitor Jonathan Levy filed the complaint on behalf of Herve Jaubert, a former French naval intelligence officer who captained Latifa’s yacht.

The report concerns the abduction of Princess Latifa, who fled from her family in Dubai to seek asylum in India and was abducted from the private yacht Nostromo.

“On the evening of the 4th of March 2018 and without warning, UAE and Indian forces unlawfully boarded the Nostromo as it was anchored in international waters. The military raid began with fully armed forces with face covers launching stun grenades and waving military assault weapons,” said the crime report, which is based on witness statements.

The complaint is in the “preliminary examination” stage, which involves the ICC prosecutor’s office assessing whether there is enough evidence of serious crimes under their jurisdiction.

Princess Latifa attempted to flee the country in February 2018 with her martial arts trainer Tiina Jauhiainen. They took an inflatable boat and then jet-skied out into international waters, where they boarded a US-flagged yacht commandeered by Jaubert.

Just over a week later, the yacht was forcefully boarded by a unit of Emirati commandos off the coast of India. The pair were forced out of their hiding spot in a lower deck bathroom and were held at gunpoint.

Latifa’s capture and imprisonment caused an international outcry, and the United Arab Emirates came under severe pressure from the UN, with calls from various countries to release her. To appease the international community, the UAE arranged a meeting between Latifa and former UN official Mary Robinson in December 2018.

In 2020, the High Court in London issued a series of judgements based on a fact-finding process. It revealed that Sheikh Mohammed had ordered and orchestrated the abduction of Princess Shamsa in 2002, and then her sister Sheikha Latifa during her escape bid in 2018, with both being forcibly returned to the UAE.

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