Stirling supports Hind Al-Bolooki’s UAE escape

Radha Stirling, CEO and founder of Detained in Dubai

DUBAI - Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and United Arab Emirates (UAE) country expert witness, has pledged to help Hind Al-Bolooki, who fled the UAE after domestic abuse, secure freedom from abuse and provide expert testimony for her asylum application.

 After applying for asylum, Hind had been free in Macedonia for two months, but was later arrested on Dec. 8. Stirling spoke with Hind from detention in Macedonia, who is being pressured by high-ranking Macedonian officials to return to the UAE voluntarily.

 Following her conversation with Hind, Stirling issued a statement regarding her commitment “to take every possible step to help Hind start a new life in Canada,” stressing that her "case should not be taken any less seriously than the case of Rahaf Mohammed," who fled from her life in Saudi Arabia last month.

Ahmed Almulla, deputy head of mission at the UAE embassy in Rome, said, “The UAE Embassy in Rome, which is responsible for diplomatic and consular relations with the Republic of Macedonia … will collect any evidence of illegal threats made against her and pass it to police so that it can be fully investigated.” “Our embassy staff are ready to help Mrs Albolooki in any way they can,” Almulla added. 

 The unusual level of government intervention on behalf of the UAE indicates that Hind’s asylum application was predetermined for rejection despite the UAE’s disingenuous attempt to uphold the image of endeavouring to improve the lives of women in the Emirates.

 Stirling’s statement clarified the harsh double standards that Emirati women continue to be subjected to, explaining “Hind has photographic evidence of the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband, and the outrageous set of rules he expected her to follow have already been circulated in social media; they amount to house arrest.”

 “The fact is that the patriarchal culture and informal male guardianship rules in the Emirates are just as pervasive as in Saudi Arabia. The treatment of women in the UAE, whether foreigners or locals, can be unimaginably harsh,” she added.

 Sterling also highlighted that “Like Sheikha Latifa before her, whose status as the daughter of the Ruler of Dubai still did not protect her against the oppression and abuse of the patriarchal culture of the UAE; Hind recognised that the only way she could ever live and be treated as an adult, free, autonomous human being, was to get out of the United Arab Emirates."

 While the Emirates have used their power to frustrate Hind’s bid for freedom instead of to support her, Stirling remains determined to ensure that Hind is able to start a new life in Canada. “The only things the UAE can do to help Hind at this point are to consent to her relocation to a safe country, and to facilitate her being reunited there with her children,” concluded Stirling’s statement.