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Princess Latifa: 'Hostage' Ordeal of Dubai Ruler's Daughter Revealed

Princess Latifa: 'Hostage' ordeal of Dubai ruler's daughter revealed

The daughter of Dubai's ruler who tried to flee the nation in 2018 later despatched secret video messages to mates accusing her father of holding her "hostage" as she feared for her life.

In footage shared with BBC Panorama, Princess Latifa Al Maktoum says commandos drugged her as she fled by boat and flew her again to detention. The key messages have stopped - and mates are urging the UN to step in.

Dubai and the UAE have beforehand mentioned she is protected within the care of the household. Ex-UN rights envoy Mary Robinson, who had described Latifa as a "troubled younger lady" after assembly her in 2018, now says she was "horribly tricked" by the princess's household.

The previous UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights and president of Eire has joined requires worldwide motion to determine Latifa's present situation and whereabouts.

"I proceed to be very nervous about Latifa. Issues have moved on. And so I feel it ought to be investigated," she mentioned. Latifa's father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is among the richest heads of state on the earth, the ruler of Dubai and vice-president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The movies have been recorded over a number of months on a cellphone Latifa was secretly given a few 12 months after she seizes and returns to Dubai. She recorded them in a rest room because it had the one door she may lock.

Within the messages, she detailed how:

  • she fought again in opposition to the troopers taking her off the boat, "kicking and preventing" and biting one Emirati commando's arm till he screamed
  • after being tranquillised she misplaced consciousness as she was being carried on to a personal jet, and did not get up till it landed in Dubai
  • she was being held alone without entry to medical or authorized assist in a villa with home windows and doorways barred shut, and guarded by police

Latifa's the account of her seize and detention was revealed to Panorama by her shut good friend Tiina Jauhiainen, maternal cousin Marcus Essabri and campaigner David Haigh, who's all behind the Free Latifa marketing campaign.

They are saying they've taken the tough resolution to launch the messages now out of concern for Latifa's security.

It was they who managed to determine contact with Latifa as she was held in a Dubai "villa", which she mentioned had barred home windows and police guards.

Panorama has independently verified the small print of the place Latifa was held.

Sheikh Mohammed has constructed a massively profitable metropolis however rights activists say there isn't any tolerance of dissent and the judicial system can discriminate in opposition to ladies.

He has an enormous horse-racing enterprise and ceaselessly attends main occasions corresponding to Royal Ascot, the place he has been pictured with Queen Elizabeth II.

However, he has confronted extreme criticism over Princess Latifa and likewise her stepmother, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, who fled to London in 2019 along with her two kids.

The boat escape

Latifa, now 35, first tried to flee at 16 however it was solely after contacting French businessman Herve Jaubert in 2011 {that a} long-planned escape was put into motion. This was accomplished with the assistance of Ms Jauhiainen, initially her teacher for capoeira, a Brazilian martial artwork.

On 24 February 2018, Latifa and Ms Jauhiainen took an inflatable boat and jet ski worldwide waters, the place Mr Jaubert was ready in the US flagged yacht.

However eight days later, off India, the boat was boarded by commandos. Ms Jauhiainen says smoke grenades pressured her and Latifa out of hiding within the restroom beneath deck they usually have been held at gunpoint.

Latifa was returned to Dubai, and hadn't been heard from since till now.

Ms Jauhiainen and the crew on the boat have been freed after two weeks of detention in Dubai. The Indian authorities have by no means commented on its function.

Earlier than her 2018 escape try, Latifa recorded one other video which was posted on YouTube after her seize. "In case you are watching this video, it isn't such a superb factor, both I am useless or I am in a really, very, very unhealthy state of affairs," she mentioned.

It was this that sparked enormous worldwide concern and requires her launch. The UAE got here underneath intense strain to account for her and a gathering was organized with Ms Robinson.

The Robinson assembly

She flew to Dubai in December 2018 on the request of her good friend, Princess Haya, for a lunch at which Latifa was additionally current.

Ms Robinson advised Panorama she and Princess Haya had earlier been offered with particulars of Latifa's bipolar dysfunction, a situation she doesn't have.

She mentioned she didn't ask Latifa about her state of affairs as a result of she didn't wish to "improve the trauma" of Latifa's "situation".

9 days after the lunch, the UAE's overseas ministry printed pictures of Ms Robinson with Latifa, which it mentioned was proof that the princess was protected and effectively.

Ms Robinson mentioned: "I used to be notably tricked when the pictures went public. That was a complete shock... I used to be completely surprised."

In 2019, the tensions inside Dubai's ruling household have been laid naked earlier than England's Excessive Courtroom after one of many sheikh's wives, Princess Haya, fled to the UK with two of her kids and utilized for a safety order and non-molestation order in opposition to the sheikh.

Final 12 months, the Excessive Courtroom issued a collection of fact-finding judgments that mentioned Sheikh Mohammed had ordered and orchestrated the forcible return of Latifa in 2002 and 2018, in addition to the illegal abduction from the UK in 2000 of her older sister Princess Shamsa, who had additionally tried to flee.

The courtroom discovered Sheikh Mohammed "continues to keep up a regime whereby each these two younger ladies are disadvantaged of their liberty".

Latifa's mates had hoped that the courtroom case in March final 12 months that dominated in opposition to Sheikh Mohammed, calling him "not sincere" and in favour of Princess Haya may assist.

On the choice to launch the messages now, Ms Jauhiainen simply says that "numerous time has handed" since contact was misplaced.

She says she thought onerous about releasing the video messages now, however, provides: "I really feel that she would need us to battle for her, and never hand over."



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