The Hay Literary Festival accused a senior member of the ruling family in the UAE of “a heinous violation”, after an employee filed a sexual assault complaint against him.
The festival’s director, Caroline Mitchell, said that the festival will not work in Abu Dhabi in the future, as long as Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan is minister of tolerance.
The employee, Caitlin McNamara, complained that the minister assaulted her earlier this year and demanded legal damages.
The 69-year-old Minister of Tolerance denied the allegations.
Caitlin said in an interview with The Times that the “attack” occurred on February 14, in a villa on a remote island to which she had been invited, as she thought, to discuss preparations for organizing the Hay Festival for the first time in Abu Dhabi.
She added that she informed the officials of the festival and the embassy immediately after the accident, and informed the police in Britain after the closure measures were lifted due to the Corona virus.
According to the Sunday Times, Caitlin is waiting to know if the attorney general will take over her case, and that she has decided to give up the right to remain anonymous, “because I feel that I will lose something.”
“I decided to complain publicly to reveal what strong men like him do and think they will get away with it,” she told the newspaper.
“Looking at the arrangements, it seems clear that I was neither the first nor the last. This accident left a deep impact on me and my body, while for him it was perhaps a passing whim. ”
The Sunday Times said that it had not received a response from Sheikh Nahyan to comment on these accusations, but it had received a statement from the Shillings law firm in London saying: “Our client expresses his surprise and sadness at these allegations that come 8 months after the alleged incident, and in a national newspaper. Our client denies all these allegations. ”
The law firm refused to provide further clarifications on the matter, to the BBC.
“What happened to our colleague and friend Caitlin McNamara in Abu Dhabi in February is a disgraceful violation of trust and an abhorrent exploitation of the position,” the Hay Festival director wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
She added that Sheikh Nahyan insulted his ministerial responsibilities and completely sabotaged his government’s attempts to work with Hay Festival to promote freedom of expression and empower women.
“We will continue to support Caitlin in demanding legal compensation for this assault, and we urge our friends in the Emirates to consider the behavior of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and send a message to the world that there will be no tolerance for such behavior. The Hay Festival will not return to Abu Dhabi as long as the minister In office. ”
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