Commandos from the Indian Coast Guard commandeered a boat off the Goa coast, dragged away a princess, and beat up the crew so violently that its captain fell unconscious, global human rights body Amnesty International has claimed.
Amnesty’s charge deals with an alleged incident from March this year that involved runaway Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum and Herve Jaubert, a man widely believed to be a former French spy.
IndiaToday.in had reported on this alleged incident in April. Then, Detained in Dubai, a non-governmental organisation, had made similar claims about the Indian Coast Guard apprehending a boat off the Goa coast, capturing Sheikha Latifa and handing her over to the United Arab Emirates authorities.
Sheikha Latifa, according to Amnesty and Detained in Dubai, had decided to flee Dubai. And so, the princess, who is the daughter of the ruler of Dubai and Vice-President of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, enlisted the help of Herve Jaubert.
On February 24, 2018, Latifa set off for India by sea. She was on Nostromo, a boat captained by Jaubert. The boat also had Latifa’s close friend Tiina Jauhianinen and three Filipino crew members, Amnesty said.
When the boat neared Goa, vessels that “were clearly and prominently marked as Indian Coast Guard ships” intercepted Nostromo and commandos from the Indian force boarded the vessel, Amnesty has claimed.
The commandos “threatened everyone aboard with guns, and dragged Sheikha Al Maktoum away as she screamed that she was claiming political asylum”, Amnesty said. Then, the rights body said, the Indian force went on to brutally assault Jaubert and his crew members.
“Jaubert was beaten until he was unconscious and left in a puddle of his own blood [while] the Filipino crew members were beaten until they collapsed and could not move,” Amnesty claimed.
RETURN TO UAE
Officers from the United Arab Emirates then arrived on the scene and were handed the custody of Sheikha Latifa, the boat and its other occupants, according to Amnesty. The Emirati force, the rights body said, then began sailing back towards the UAE.
Amnesty claims that all people onboard Nostromo were held “incommunicado” in solitary confinement at a UAE prison. Jaubert and his crew were released on March 20 and were allowed to leave the UAE on Nostromo itself.
Sheikha Latifa’s friend Tiina Jauhiainen was released two days later and was allowed to fly home to Finland, Amnesty said. Sheikha Latifa’s whereabouts remain unknown.
The rights group has asked India to “investigate and hold to account all officials implicated in [the] unlawful acts in the course of its raid on the Nostromo”. The Indian commandos’ alleged actions “could amount to torture”.
“Amnesty International considers this incident to have possibly entailed multiple violations of international human rights law by both India and the UAE,” the rights body also said.
India has never officially commented on the allegations surrounding Sheikha Latifa’s alleged capture and repatriation. In July, sources from within the Indian government had denied that the country was involved in the alleged incident.
Source: India Today