On Wednesday, a collection of human rights lawyers and students at the University of Louisville officially filed a complaint with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, requesting that it not allow Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum from participating in the Kentucky Derby, citing questions about the whereabouts of his daughter who has attempted to flee from her family in the past and is allegedly being detained against her will.
The complaint was obtained by The New York Times and reportedly said, “The Horse Racing Commission must also use its authority to end his involvement in Kentucky horse racing, at least until Princess Latifa is free of captivity.”
Sheikh Mohammed plans to enter his horse, Essential Quality, in the upcoming derby after eleven past failed attempts to do so.
Last week, a group of independent human rights experts, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, called for the United Arab Emirates to provide more information about the princess, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, over concerns about her safety.
The experts said, “We are alarmed that, following the public release in February of footage in which Sheikha Latifa reported being deprived of her liberty against her will, and the subsequent official request for further information on her situation, no concrete information has been provided by the authorities.”
“The statement issued by the Emirates authorities’ merely indicating that she was being ‘cared for at home’ is not sufficient at this stage,” the experts said. “Her continued incommunicado detention can have harmful physical and psychological consequences and may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
“Evidence of life and assurances regarding her well-being are urgently required,” they said, asking for independent verification of how she is being detained, and for her to be released immediately.
Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, said Sheikh Mohammed’s “behavior is beyond the pale. He should be persona non grata at these big events.”
As The Daily Wire reported two months ago, videos were circulated that showed Sheikha Latifa claiming that she was being held captive in her home after she attempted to run away in 2018.
The Daily Wire reported:
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, 35, can be seen giving details on her alleged detainee situation in one of her secret video messages released by the BBC.
“So I am in a villa,” she says in the video. “I’m a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail. All the windows are barred shut, I can’t open any window. There’s five policeman outside and two policewomen inside the house. And I can’t even go outside to get any fresh air.”
She says she doesn’t know when she’ll be let go, and what the conditions will be like when she is released.
The video continues with her saying, “Every day I am worried about my safety and my life. I really don’t know if I’m going to survive the situation. The police threatened me that I’ll be in prison my whole life and I’ll never see the sun again … I just want to be free. I don’t know what they’re planning to do with me. I really don’t know. So the situation is getting more desperate every day. I am just really, really tired of this now.”
Kenneth Roth tweeted a message at the time that said pressure was mounting on President Joe Biden to “address the plight of Princess Latifa,” saying, “What kind of ally puts his daughter in endless solitary confinement because she wanted to lead an independent life.”
What kind of ally puts his daughter in endless solitary confinement because she wanted to lead an independent life. Pressure mounts on Biden to address the plight of Princess Latifa, detained by her father, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum. https://t.co/VTCVMwXpEA pic.twitter.com/grRDxpmHja
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) February 17, 2021
The United States has reportedly not responded to the statement issued by the United Nations.
“We take these reports seriously and are closely monitoring the situation,” a State Department spokesman said, according to the Times. “We take any reporting of persons held against their will seriously and reiterate that freedom from arbitrary detention is a universal human right.”
The Daily Wire has not independently verified or obtained the videos.
The Daily Wire has reached out to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission with a request for comment.
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