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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

​Detained in Dubai appoints QC John Cooper in Princess Latifa case

Acting as Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum’s legal representatives, Detained in Dubai and Captain Hervé Jaubert have instructed internationally renowned barrister John Cooper QC of 25 Bedford Row to advise in their ongoing case with the United Nations on behalf of the Dubai princess, with accomplished UK barrister Matthew Heywood of 1 Crown Office Row acting as Junior Counsel.

Cooper is a respected figure in the international legal community, with expertise in human rights, special inquiries and inquests, and both civil and criminal law. He was Chair of the International Steering Committee and Prosecutor at the Iran Tribunal in The Hague, and is recognised as one of the most influential lawyers in the UK.

“John Cooper has the background, knowledge, and unparalleled skill that uniquely qualifies him to advance the case of Princess Latifa at the UN,” said Detained in Dubai CEO Radha Stirling, “We have been dissatisfied with the progress of the inquiry into her abduction and apparent detention in the UAE, and we are immensely glad to have John and Matthew come aboard to assist in this effort.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained In Dubai.  The organisation has been at the forefront of the fight to save Latifa.

“Since Latifa entrusted me in March 2018 to act on her behalf in the event of her capture, I have pursued every possible avenue to secure her safety and freedom; including bringing her case to the attention of the global media, which led to the release of all those abducted alongside Latifa last year. We initiated a complaint with the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, and an inquiry was launched. I felt, and continue to believe that the UN is the appropriate channel for resolving this case; however, the investigation has stalled over the past several months, and so we decided to approach John Cooper to reinvigorate the campaign to free Latifa. This is a collaborative effort that can only be won with the kind of sincere dedication and rare expertise John and Matthew bring to the table.”

Latifa, making the video she knew could be the difference between her living and dying, if her escape attempt failed.

John Cooper commented on his involvement in the Latifa case, "I’m very pleased to be able to help with this landmark case. The fight for Latifa’s freedom is really a fight for all women in the Middle East. We will be looking to enlist the help of the UN and all avenues of applicable international law.  Many countries in the Middle East are at a crossroads right now regarding human rights, and women’s causes in particular and the outcome of Latifa's case, will have long standing impact in the region".

Matthew Heywood added: “I’m extremely pleased to be helping John and Radha on this case. The outcome can either advance the cause of women in the region, or set it back hundreds of years. I'm confident the outcome will be positive for both Latifa and the UAE.”

Sheikha Latifa is the daughter of the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; she escaped the UAE last year in a bid for asylum in the US, only to be captured days later in a joint military operation by the Emirates and India. Her step-mother, Princess Haya bint Hussein, who helped coordinate a staged media event last December with Latifa and former Irish President Mary Robinson to allay fears about Latifa’s wellbeing, has herself fled the UAE and is currently engaged in a custody battle in British courts over her two children with Sheikh Mohammed. 

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