A member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan has been accused of sexually assaulting a female festival curator.
The tolerance minister of the United Arab Emirates allegedly attacked Caitlin McNamara when she visited the country to work with him on the launch of Britain`s Hay literary festival in February. This has prompted the chair of the festival to announce that the festival will not return to Abu Dhabi.
However, Sheikh Nahyan`s British lawyers denied the allegations saying the minister was “surprised and saddened by this allegation.”
Metropolitan Police said the victim reported an allegation of rape in July and confirmed that an initial statement had been taken from her.
Hay Festival chair Caroline Michel stated that her colleagues pledged to back McNamara in filing a lawsuit against the tolerance minister.
In a statement, she said: “What happened to our friend and colleague Caitlin McNamara in Abu Dhabi last February was an appalling violation and a hideous abuse of trust and position.
“Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan made a mockery of his ministerial responsibilities and tragically undermined his government’s attempt to work with Hay Festival to promote free speech and female empowerment.”
The Foreign Ministry of the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, refused to make any comments on the incident when it was asked. It said that it does not want to interfere with personal matters.