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UAE Minister of Tolerance Accused of Sexual Assault by Hay Book Festival Worker




A British woman has accused a senior Emirati king of sexually assaulting her while she was working on the launch of the Hay literary festival in Abu Dhabi, a UK newspaper has reported.

The Sunday Times reported that Caitlin McNamara, 32, claims she was attacked by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, 69, the UAE cabinet’s minister of tolerance.

The alleged attack took place on Valentine’s Day this year at a remote private island villa where McNamara thought she was called to discuss preparations for the inauguration of the Abu Dhabi Hay Festival.

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The newspaper said McNamara was interviewed by Scotland Yard.

At the time of the alleged attack, McNamara had spent nearly six months working in Sheikh Nahyan’s ministry of tolerance, having been hired at the Hay Festival to organize his first collaboration with the UAE.

McNamara said that after officially inviting her to dinner, Sheikh Nahyan took her to a villa on a small island which she believes was part of Abu Dhabi’s Al Gurm Resort.

‘He was upset’

“This is when he started touching me,” she told the Sunday Times.

“He was upset. He was on the couch next to me and he started touching my arm and legs and I was pulling, then he became strong … Suddenly, he clicked why I was there. I felt so naive.”

McNamara said she also felt scared. “I was alone on this island in a concrete building with this powerful man in a place where every day you heard stories about missing people in the desert.”

When she complained, instead of letting him go, McNamara said the sheikh took her for a tour of the villa.

“Then we got into a gold elevator where he pushed me against the wall and started rubbing my breasts in a weird way like windshield wipers,” she said.

“We went out into a room full of perfume bottles and he pushed me back onto a circular bed covered in fur.

“He lifted his thong and was naked down, and rode on top of me.

“I pulled my dress down, but he put his hands on my dress and my fingers inside me, it was really hurting and drying me out.”

She was so frightened that she could not explain how she left. “I just remember he kept grinding me and drying my leg even when I was escaping,” she said.

‘Account Rejected’

According to the Sunday Times, Baroness Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, a high-profile women’s rights activist, has arranged for London attorneys Carter Ruck to represent pro bono McNamara.

Carter Ruck will consider whether they can prosecute Nahyan in the UK under Universal Jurisdiction laws, which they argue means human rights abuses such as torture and detaining someone against their will can is tried in every country.

A legal opinion has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, the Sunday Times said. McNamara was told a decision was expected last month if they would go ahead but they are still waiting.

Sheikh Nahyan did not respond to calls or messages from The Sunday Times about the allegations, which were also sent through his press adviser.

A letter was sent by defamation attorneys in London Schillings with the following statement: “Our client is surprised and saddened by this allegation, which arrives eight months after the alleged incident and through a national newspaper. The account has been denied.”

On Saturday, the directors of the Hay festival vowed never to return to the UAE while Sheikh Nahyan remains in office.

Caroline Michel, Hay board chairwoman, described the alleged attack “as a horrific violation and a horrific abuse of trust and position”.

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