Abu Dhabi holding Qatari royal 'against his will'

Abu Dhabi holding Qatari royal Abdullah bin Ali al-Thani 'against his will'
2 min read
14 January, 2018
A controversial member of the Qatari royal-family who had been used by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to pressure Doha during the crisis is being held against his will in UAE.
Abdullah bin Ali al-Thani is a little known member of the Qatari royal family [Twitter]
A controversial member of the Qatari royal family who has been used by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to pressure Doha during recent tensions in the Gulf, says he is being held against his will in the UAE.

In a video widely circulated on social media on Sunday, Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali al-Thani confirmed he is not free to leave Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

Thani, who had been touted by the countries blockading Qatar as "the next emir of Qatar", said he was in Abu Dhabi as a guest of Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

He said that the "hospitality has ended" and that he was now being held against his will.

Thani said he feared something would happen to him and Qatar would be blamed for it.

"I want to tell you Qatar is innocent from anything [that could happen to me]...I am a guest of Sheikh Mohammed [bin Zayed] and he bares responsibility for anything that could happen now," he added.

On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and economic ties with gas-rich Qatar, accusing it of links to extremist groups.

Saudi Arabia then issued Qatar with a list of demands, including shutting down media outlets Al Jazeera and London-based The New Arab, curbing relations with Iran, and closing a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Qatar has denied the allegations and repeatedly called for dialogue to end the crisis.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali is the son of the late Emir Ali bin Abdullah al-Thani, ruler of Qatar from 1949 to 1960, and the brother of Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani, ruler from 1960 to 1972. 

Despite the fact that Sheikh Abdullah is a member of the royal family, he is not a Qatari official. He has lived in Saudi Arabia for many years and owns properties there.

Some observers believe that he was part of the doomed Saudi-led camp's plans for regime change in Doha.