Sheikha Latifa asked for our help and entrusted us with securing her freedom from the gilded cage in which her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, keeps her as an effective prisoner. We will not let her down. Apart from liking Latifa as a person (the Free Latifa campaign was established and run by her best friend Tiina Jauhiainen with the help of David Haigh), our commitment to fighting for Latifa’s freedom is based on what is at stake here: Latifa stands for every person, especially every woman, who is held against their will when they have done nothing wrong, and sought only to exercise their UN-recognised right of self-determination. We will continue this fight in the courts of law, and before governmental and international organisations such as the United Nations.
The Free Latifa campaign has already been successful in forcing Dubai to reveal that it was state security forces who abducted Latifa in March 2018, and that she is at least alive.
We are now demanding what Latifa has fought for, for years: that she be free to travel to a country of her choice, with her sister Shamsa, free from torture, abuse and duress, and be able to associate with whichever friends, advisors and lawyers she chooses.
Latifa gave us very clear instructions on what to do in the event that her bid for freedom failed. She wanted us to continue to fight for her freedom and to tell her story around the world to inspire others
“If I don’t make it out, I really hope there’s some positive change that will happen from all of this,”she said in her remarkable video she recorded before her daring escape attempt in February 2018.
She wanted to tell the world about her and her sister’s two- decade-long struggle for freedom from torture, abuse and oppression. As well as fighting her own battle, Latifa is also an advocate for equality. She made it clear that, even if she didn’t succeed, she hoped her story would encourage other women in the Middle East to stand up against male guardianship and patriarchy, and ultimately be free.
We are making sure her story will be heard everywhere.
Who we are
The Free Latifa campaign was established by Latifa’s friend, Tiina Jauhiainen, and human rights lawyer David Haigh. We are the only official campaign group representing Latifa, Tiina, and the crew of the Nostromo.
The campaign is organized by Tiina Jauhiainen and David Haigh with the support of Detained International and Stirling Haigh. Detained International is a not-for-profit legal advocacy non-governmental organization (NGO), founded to assist people who have become victims of injustice and human rights violations in the United Arab Emirates and the wider Middle East. Our team began from Detained in Dubai, which they were involved in founding, and the team have been helping hundreds of victims of injustice, discrimination and varied human rights violations for over ten years. We are an NGO with charitable aims and are acting on a voluntary basis to help Latifa, as are our partners and staff. We are fortunate to be helped by many volunteers and supporters donating their time and skills.
One of the most important pillars of Latifa’s campaign is our legal fight for her freedom.
The unprecedented illegal acts of the UAE and India required groundbreaking legal and advocacy work. Our legal team instigated criminal, civil and intergovernmental legal action across the world in the United Nations, Metropolitan Police, Cambridgeshire police, FBI, European Parliament and civil actions commencing in the US, UK and India. Our work in the United Nations, and the support of it from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, forced the UAE to respond to our complaint in December 2018 – an unprecedented step for the UAE.
Latifa appointed David Haigh to assist and represent her in February 2018. The legal team, now managed by Haigh, includes senior lawyers and barristers.
Within hours of the attack on the Nostromo, Haigh contacted Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, as well as leading human rights barristers Toby Cadman and Alun Jones. The fast response allowed our team to present Latifa’s case before the United Nations days after the attack.
In 2018, Haigh appointed Toby Cadman of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers to lead the legal team and act on behalf of Sheikha Latifa, Tiina Jauhiainen and the crew of the Nostromo to seek justice and Latifa’s freedom. In 2019, Haigh took over certain aspects of the legal work from Cadman, including the representation of Latifa, Tiina and the Nostromo’s crew before the United Nations.
We continue to seek the assistance of talented lawyers and paralegals from around the world. If you believe you’re able to offer assistance, please get in touch via: [email protected]