Hay Festival severs UAE ties after claims of sexual assault by Emirati minister

Hay Festival severs UAE ties after claims of sexual assault by Emirati minister

The Hay Festival has severed its ties with the UAE after one of its staff accused one of the kingdom’s ministers of sexually assaulting her. Caitlin McNamara claims that Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s tolerance minister, assaulted her when she visited him at a private island villa, ostensibly to discuss the Hay Festival’s first event in Abu Dhabi. The Festival’s chair, Caroline Michel, said the Hay Festival will not run any events in the UAE while Sheikh Nahyan remains in post as a Government minister. Ms Michel described the alleged incident, if true, as "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,” she said. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Ms McNamara said she had waived her legal right to anonymity as an alleged victim because she felt she had “nothing to lose” by going public. "I want to do this because I want to highlight the effect of powerful men like him doing things like that and thinking they can get away with it,” she claimed. The festival worker said the alleged attack happened on Valentine’s Day last year, and described it as “creepy” and “forceful”. She claims that when she arrived at his home on a secluded private island, he invited her inside before allegedly assaulting her on a ...
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