Wife of Dubai royal Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum broadcast multiple Instagram livestreams today as she tearfully barricaded herself in her home while police tried to gain entry to take her children.
Sheikha Zeynab is the third wife of Sheikh Saeed who is the son of the former ruler of Dubai, and nephew of current ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Sheikh Saeed is known for being an Olympic shooter, equestrian and football club owner. Now, however, he is going viral for being the cause of his wife’s plea to the international community for protection from abuse.
Zeynab’s desperate pleas for assistance have spread rapidly on social media as the world watches in shock while her 78 year old father is arrested by Dubai police. Zeynab has barricaded herself in her home as police try to gain entry. Zeynab refuses to open the locked door after earlier assault, the arrest of her father and the confiscation of her personal technology items that contain evidence of almost a year’s worth of trauma she has endured at the hand of her powerful husband.
Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, who has helped in numerous women’s abuse cases and who was appointed by Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum and Emirati Hind Al Balooki in their emergency cases, and who has advocated for women’s rights and freedoms in the Middle East for over 12 years, contacted authorities in Dubai immediately, and live-streamed her concerns immediately. Stirling said in a statement today:
“It cannot be emphasised enough that this is an urgent situation. Because of Zeynab’s bravery and presence of mind to livestream this disturbing incident, the international community has an opportunity to prevent, rather than react to, abuse committed by the royal family in Dubai. Zeynab has already suffered at the hands of her ex-husband, the nephew of the Ruler; being left without basic utilities and access to movement; and now two generations of her family are in danger of being arbitrarily punished at the orders of the sheikh over his dispute with Zeynab. She is herself in great danger of unlawful arrest and detention, and perhaps worse.
“The royal families in the UAE are used to operating with impunity, above the law, with no scrutiny from the rest of the world, including their allies. We have had glimpses after the fact of the abuse inflicted on female members of these families; Latifa, Shams, and Haya, for example; as well as women throughout the Gulf like Hind Al-Balooki; but Zeynab’s situation is happening right now, and the international media can shine a spotlight on her plight before it escalates.
“Too often in this region, once a woman is divorced, she is socially and legally deleted; she has no rights, she has no voice, and she has no options. Zeynab has been struggling for 9 months, in her own words, to redress her mistreatment through UAE authorities; but of course, no officials in Dubai would dare interfere in the family matters of the royal family. She has no recourse except to the outside world through social media, to expose the oppression she and her children and now her parents are enduring at the hands of Sheikh Saeed. It is imperative that we respond promptly and decisively to support her.”
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