A member of Qatar’s ruling family said he was detained against his will in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in a video widely circulated via social media on Sunday, the News Agencyreports.
Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani said in the video: “I am currently in Abu Dhabi. I was a guest of Sheikh Mohammed. I am no longer a guest; I am a prisoner.”
Although he did not name Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed, several media outlets, including the Doha-based Al Jazeera, reported he was referring to him when he said Sheikh Mohammed.
He said if anything happened to him, “Sheikh Mohammed” should be held responsible.
“They told me not to leave. I am afraid that anything could happen to me, and the people of Qatar would be blamed. So I just wanted to inform you that if anything happens to me, the people of Qatar are innocent,” he said.
The exact date of the video could not be determined.
A UAE foreign ministry official denied the report of his detention noting the Qatari sheikh wanted to leave the UAE.
The UAE’s official Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported that the source at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation had affirmed that Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani had come as a guest to the UAE, at his own behest.
He enjoyed the warm welcome and gracious hospitality during his stay in the UAE, after he was harassed by the Qatari Government, said the report.
The WAM report cited the official as saying that Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani has had unrestrained mobility and freedom of movement during his stay in the UAE. It also said that he had expressed his desire to leave the UAE following which all measures were taken to honor this desire without any reservations.
On the other hand, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Lulwa al-Khater, said in a statement to the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) that Doha was “monitoring” the situation.
“The state of Qatar observes the situation closely, and due to the total severance of ties with the UAE it is difficult to clearly establish the circumstances surrounding the situation,” she said.
Qatar principally stands with the protection of rights for every individual, said al-Khater and added that they have seen similar behavior — which was contradictory to laws and norms– to the other countries’ citizens from some of the countries that imposed the blockade on Qatar.
The Qatari royal rose to prominence after he reportedly appeared on several Saudi and UAE television shows expressing support for a blockade on Qatar imposed by four Gulf countries, according to Al Jazeera.
Last June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain abruptly cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups in the region.
Qatar, for its part, has denied the accusations, describing the attempts to isolate it as a breach of international law.