Caitlin McNamara: In the eyes of Emirati Minister Nahyan bin Mubarak...

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  • BBC – London

2 November 2020

Caitlin McNamara

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Caitlin McNamara says the minister lured her into his home and sexually assaulted her

A young British woman, Caitlin McNamara, who accuses the UAE Minister of Tolerance Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan of assaulting her, said that she will demand a review of the Royal Prosecution Department’s decision not to agree to file a case against the Emirati minister in the incident.

“In his eyes I was just a toy.”

“I thought that he considered me a professional figure while in his view I was just a toy,” so McNamara began describing the facts of the assault that she said she was subjected to by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance in the federal government of the United Arab Emirates.

The Emirati minister had denied these allegations through a statement published by a law firm specializing in defamation cases in Britain, saying that the minister was “surprised and sad” at these allegations.

McNamara was residing for a period of six months in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to organize a copy of the “High Festival” literary demonstration known in Britain on the territory of the emirate with funding from Sheikh Al Nahyan.

McNamara, 32, says that the alleged assault took place on February 14 of this year, after receiving an invitation from Sheikh Nahyan to discuss details about the festival days before its launch and that she was surprised that she was taken to the minister’s home on a private island, where He sexually assaulted her according to her account.

Selection Controversial

The “High Festival” literary festival, which began modestly in 1988 in a small town in the county of Wales, has developed over three decades to become one of the most important cultural gatherings in Britain and the most literary and artistic events attracting the media and famous writers and writers.

The choice to hold a version of the “High Festival” festival in the United Arab Emirates has been a matter of controversy from the start. More than 60 NGOs and well-known writers, including Noam Chomsky, Nigerian Nobel laureate Wal Soyinka, published an open letter on February 24 – the day before the festival opens – criticizing the UAE’s record on freedom of expression. They called on the UAE authorities to uphold freedom of expression “at all times, and not only to endure it during the Hay Festival in Abu Dhabi.”

McNamara, who was representing the festival management during her stay in Abu Dhabi, said the decision to hold the festival in the UAE was controversial as the festival celebrates freedom of expression in “a country with a very problematic history of freedom of expression issues,” she said. She says that “despite the many calls from the authors for us not to organize it in Abu Dhabi, we decided that it is better to cooperate with the Emiratis in creating a platform for dialogue and debate rather than boycotting.”

She explains that she received an invitation on the 14th of February 2020 to meet Sheikh Nahyan, without further details.

“I asked the driver who would attend the meeting with the Minister of Tolerance. That was very usual after six months of working there. I knew I had to be flexible, as I did not always know where I would go especially when I dealt with the royal family, so you are not told everything. Details, but I was trying to get as much information about who would be there so that I could search for them on my phone while I was in the car and see who would be at this dinner. “

She indicated that she informed the director of the festival, Peter Lawrence in Britain, of her destination through “WhatsApp”, and also shared with him the tracking feature provided by the application. I noticed that the car moved away from the palace, exited the city, crossed checkpoints, and then a bridge leading to a villa on a small island.

There were no other invitees, and she only saw two workers in the house in addition to the driver, according to her account.

Caitlin says that she had intended to discuss the issue of freedom of expression in the UAE, specifically the case of the Emirati poet Ahmed Mansoor, who was sentenced in 2018 to ten years in prison for criticizing the government on social media. However, it soon became apparent to her, according to her account, that the minister was not interested in discussing the festival or Ahmed Mansour’s case.

Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan

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Minister Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan denies the incident completely

‘A different stream’

After a short period of conversation, she adds, it became “absolutely clear” that he did not want to talk to her about the festival. “He told me that he is not interested in the festival or the ministry.” When she tried to re-talk about Ahmed Mansour, he told her, “He is part of the Muslim Brotherhood and will remain in prison.”

McNamara says the meeting began at that time, taking a different course.

He tied his condor and was naked and lay on top of me. He started touching me, touching my arm, and asking me to take off my shoes, but I refused. I was thinking all this time how I could get out of the situation without offending this man. I am in a villa on an island and my phone is far away and I cannot order a taxi “.

Caitlin adds that she tried to leave, but the minister took her on a tour of the house until they reached a hall with a round sofa.

She continues her story, saying that despite her attempt to stop the minister, he did not stop. “He was trying to extend his hand inside my dress and it was not easy because I was pulling my dress down, my dress is very long. He was lying on me with all his weight, and in the end he extended his hand inside my body, and this in British law is considered rape. I managed to push him on the bed, stand up and pull my clothes once. Another was down while he was still naked and was rubbing his legs and feeling me. ”

Caitlin says the minister didn’t stop until after a staff member appeared in front of him.

Within twenty-four hours of the incident, Catlin testified before the British Consul in . She says the minister kept following her with “very personal” calls and text messages for weeks.

Sheikh Nahyan denied these allegations through the law firm, “Shillings”, which specializes in defamation cases in the British capital, London.

The text of the statement read: “Our client is amazed and saddened by these allegations, which come eight months after the alleged allegation. The story has no basis.”

British law provides for the anonymity of claimants in sexual assault cases. But Caitlin McNamara decided to speak out, to make the defendant “aware of the consequences of his actions” and encourage victims of sexual assault to speak out.

‘Deep disappointment’

After the Royal Prosecution Department issued a decision not to accept filing a lawsuit against the Emirati minister in the incident, McNamara expressed, in a statement, “deep disappointment” and said that she would request a review of the decision in accordance with the legal mechanism designated for that.

Under the legislation currently in force, crimes committed against a British citizen abroad could only be considered through the principle of “universal jurisdiction”. This principle applies to specific cases such as terrorism, sexual crimes against children, and torture by the authority and its representatives.

McNamaras defense team argues that what their client was subjected to can be classified as an incident of torture by an agent of authority, which allows the sheikh to be prosecuted in the United Kingdom.

The Crown Prosecution Service stated in a statement that the sexual assault that Catlin describes could amount to inflicting severe pain or suffering as her lawyers pay. But it does not consider that the incident took place within the framework of the Sheikh’s exercise of his official duties.

Based on this, the Royal Prosecution Department decided not to accept a lawsuit against Sheikh Nahyan.

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