Qatari royal ‘held against his will in the UAE’

A member of the Qatari royal family says he is being held against his will in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani released on Sunday a video statement saying he was “a prisoner” in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, and that if anything happened to him, “Sheikh Mohammed” is responsible.

While he did not specify, Sheikh Abdullah appeared to be referring to Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

“I am currently in Abu Dhabi. I was a guest of Sheikh Mohammed. I am no longer a guest; I am a prisoner,” he said in the video, which was widely circulated on social media.

“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,” added Sheikh Abdullah.

“I am a guest of Sheikh Mohammed and if anything happens to me after this, he is fully responsible.”

Sheikh Abdullah is a son of a Qatari emir from the 1960s, Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani. He dropped off the radar for decades but rose to prominence suddenly last summer, when a major diplomatic crisis broke out in the Gulf.

After Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar in June, Sheikh Abdullah appeared frequently on Saudi and UAE television programmes expressing his views in support of the measures against Doha.

At an Arab League meeting in Cairo in September, Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad al-Muraikhi said Saudi Arabia was looking to depose Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and replace him with Sheikh Abdullah.

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