Missing Dubai princess re-emerges in video; 'being held hostage'
The daughter of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (71) has re-emerged in a video claiming that she is being held hostage. Sheikha Latifa (35)—who attempted to flee the country only to be detained from international waters off India in 2018—is in a "jail villa," she claimed in a video released by the BBC as part of its investigative series "Panorama."
"I am a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail," Latifa said in the video, "All the windows are barred shut, I cannot open any window." She said she was filming the video from a bathroom, the only room she could lock herself into. She is not allowed to go outside even for fresh air, she said.
"I do not really know if I am going to survive this situation," Latifa said in the video. "The police threatened me that I will be in prison my whole life and I will never see the sun again." "I do not know what they are planning to do with me," she added, "I just want to be free."
The BBC reported that Latifa filmed the video on a phone she secretly received about a year after her capture. The videos also included an interview with Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Robinson—who had appeared in photos with Latifa published by Emirati officials after the Sheikha's return to Dubai in 2018—told the BBC that she had been misled by Emirati authorities. She said Emirati authorities had told her that Latifa was troubled and was safe in her family's care. "I was particularly tricked when the photographs went public," Robinson said. "That was a total surprise."
In March 2018, Latifa had attempted to flee by boat only to be captured off India. She has not been seen in public since. Her escape attempt drew international attention to the otherwise carefully controlled image maintained by the family of Sheikh Mohammed. Last year, a British court had observed that Sheikh Mohammed had ordered the abduction of his daughters Latifa and Shamsa (39).