Home News UAE minister of tolerance accused of sexual assault by British festival worker

UAE minister of tolerance accused of sexual assault by British festival worker

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Content warning: This piece contains descriptions of alleged sexual abuse

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2019 file photo, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the tolerance minister of the United Arab Emirates, speaks to The Associated Press in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The chair of Britain's Hay literary festival said Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, that the event will not return to Abu Dhabi after one of the festival's curators alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Sheikh Nahyan while working with him. When asked about the allegation by the AP, the UAE's Foreign Ministry said it does not comment on personal matters. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan has denied allegations made against him (Picture: AP)

A British woman has claimed she was sexually assaulted by a senior Emirati royal.

Caitlin McNamara, 32, said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) minister of tolerance Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, 69, attacked her in Abu Dhabi on Valentine’s Day this year.

A Sunday Times report added she had been interviewed by police in London over the allegations.

McNamara, who waived her right to anonymity, told the newspaper the royal assaulted her in a villa she thinks was located on a small island on Abu Dhabi’s Al Gurm Resort.

She said he had taken her there following a formal dinner and she had expected to discuss details of the Hay literary festival which she was organising in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Nahyan has denied the allegations, adding he was ‘surprised and saddened’ after being accused of sexual assault.

McNamara told the Sunday Times: ‘It was creepy. He was on the sofa next to me and began touching my arm and feet and I was pulling away, then he got forceful… Suddenly, it clicked why I was there. I felt so naive.’

She added: ‘I was alone on this island in a concrete building with this powerful man in a country where every day you heard stories about people disappeared in the desert.’

McNamara claimed Sheikh Nahyan had also ‘pushed me against the wall and began rubbing my breasts’ and ‘pushed me backwards onto a circular bed covered in fur’.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew Parsons/REX/Shutterstock (2304223x) The London Mayor Boris Johnson with H.H Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Youth in Abu Dhabi. Boris Johnson Visits the UAE - 15 Apr 2013
Boris Johnson with Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan (C) (Picture: Rex)

McNamara said he had pulled up his throbe and was naked underneath and then tried to climb on top of her.

He then allegedly ‘put his fingers inside of her’ and then continued to ‘dry-hump’ her leg as she made her escape.

McNamara added he had not let her go when she initially complained about his touching.

Women’s rights campaigner Baroness Helena Kennedy QC has made a deal with law firm Carter Ruck to represent McNamara free of charge and it will determine if it can prosecute the sheikh in the UK.

The Sunday Times added the lawyers had sent a legal opinion to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and a decision is expected soon.

Hay festival has said it will not return to UAE until Sheikh Nahyan is removed from his post.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk. For more stories like this, check our news page.

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