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The New Arab Staff

British woman files claim against senior UAE royal over sexual assault allegations

The senior UAE royal denies the allegations [STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via Getty Images]

Date of publication: 27 April, 2021

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Caitlin McNamara alleges Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan sexually assaulted her at a private villa in Abu Dhabi.

A senior UAE royal has been sent a letter claiming damages by a British woman who alleges he sexually assaulted and forcibly imprisoned her, The Guardian has reported.

Caitlin McNamara accuses Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan, the UAE's minister of tolerance and coexistence, of sexually assaulting her multiple times on 14 February in Abu Dhabi.

McNamara's lawyers said civil action will be taken in the UK's High Court if required.

Read more: UAE minister of tolerance accused of serious sexual assault on Hay Festival organiser

She alleges the sexual assault occurred at a private villa last Valentine's Day when she worked as the curator for Abu Dhabi's first Hay Festival of Literature & Arts.

She believed she was attending the home to go over arrangements for the festival, according to an interview in The Sunday Times.

Al-Nahyan has denied these allegations.

His London-based lawyer told Sky News last October: "Our client is surprised and saddened by this allegation, which arrives eight months after the alleged incident and via a national newspaper. The account is denied."

The Hay Festival said it would not return to Abu Dhabi while Al-Nahyan still serves as tolerance minister.

McNamara's lawyers said on Monday she was forced to send the letter after the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to charge Al-Nahyan, arguing that "the evidence does not support a prosecution".

Despite the alleged incident occurring outside the UK, Al-Nahyan could have been charged if the CPS felt it happened during "the performance or purported performance of [Al Nahyan’s] official duties".

Nevertheless, prosecutors did not believe this legal requirement was met, a view which was upheld in a December judicial review.

McNamara wrote in The Guardian in March that she had "always known how hard it will be to get criminal justice, because of Nahyan’s status".

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