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19 October 2020 02:31

Melanie Sykes Gondola Jack Cockings

Sheikh denies sexual assault claim after UK literary festival vows not to return to Abu Dhabi

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. 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. 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. 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'.

Hay festival has said it will not return to UAE until Sheikh Nahyan is removed from his post. One of the UK's leading literary festivals has announced it will not be going back to Abu Dhabi after one of the event's curators claimed she was sexually assaulted by the United Arab Emirates' tolerance minister. Caitlin McNamara claimed a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, sexually assaulted her in a remote island villa back in February while she was working with him at the Hay Festival. "We got in a gold lift where he pushed me against the wall and began rubbing my breasts in a weird way like windscreen wipers," she told The Sunday Times. Sheikh Nahyan has denied all of the allegations against him and a letter sent by London libel lawyers Schillings to The Sunday Times said: "Our client is surprised and saddened by this allegation, which arrives eight months after the alleged incident and via a national newspaper.

Hay Festival chair Caroline Michel said her colleagues are committed to supporting Ms McNamara and said the festival will not return to Abu Dhabi while the sheikh remains in his post. An Abu Dhabi minister has denied claims that he sexually assaulted a staff member at a British literary festival in the city, after organisers vowed not to return in light of the alleged incident. Caitlin McNamara, who was launching the Hay Festival in the UAE's capital, says she was attacked by minister for tolerance Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan on Valentine's Day this year. London lawyers Schillings said the sheikh denies the allegations, which the festival had branded an "appalling violation and a hideous abuse of trust and position". The 69-year-old Oxford-educated sheikh invited Ms McNamara to dinner on a private island, The Sunday Times reported earlier.

Ms McNamara, 32, who spent six months working in the UAE's ministry of tolerance, said the sheikh "grabbed my face and started kissing me". Ms McNamara, who told the PA news agency she had waived her right to anonymity, was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police about her allegations when she returned to the UK. Image: The Hay Festival says it will not return to Abu Dhabi while the Sheikh remains in position Caroline Michel, chair of the Hay Festival, said on Twitter: "What happened to our colleague and friend Caitlin McNamara in Abu Dhabi last February was an appalling violation and a hideous abuse of trust and position. A British woman has accused a senior Emirati royal of sexually assaulting her while she was working on the launch of the Hay literary festival in Abu Dhabi, a UK newspaper has reported. The Sunday Times said that Caitlin McNamara, 32, claims she was attacked by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, 69, the minister of tolerance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cabinet.

The alleged assault took place on Valentine's Day this year at a remote private island villa where McNamara thought she had been summoned to discuss preparations for the inaugural Hay Festival Abu Dhabi. At the time of the alleged attack, McNamara had spent almost six months working at Sheikh Nahyan's tolerance ministry, having been hired by the Hay Festival to organise its first collaboration with the UAE. McNamara said that after formally inviting her for dinner, Sheikh Nahyan took her to a villa on a small island which she believes to have been part of Abu Dhabi's Al Gurm Resort. He was on the sofa next to me and began touching my arm and feet and I was pulling away, then he got forceful... "Then we got in a gold lift where he pushed me against the wall and began rubbing my breasts in a weird way like windscreen wipers," she said. In a statement on Sunday, Caroline Michel, chair of the Hay board, described the alleged assault "as an appalling violation and a hideous abuse of trust and position". Michel said the Hay Festival would not return to the UAE again while Sheikh Nahyan remains in post. THE Brit organiser of a literary festival in Abu Dhabi has alleged she was sexually assaulted by their minister of tolerance. Caitlin McNamara, 32, said she was attacked by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, 69, on Valentine's Day this year. The Hay Festival said it would not return to Abu Dhabi while the minister remains in position. Ms McNamara spent almost six months working in the United Arab Emirates ministry of tolerance after being hired by the Hay Festival to launch its inaugural event in the capital.