Sunday, 28 February, 2021

Dubai Ruler's Daughter Says She's Being Held "Hostage"

039;I Am a Hostage': Daughter of Dubai Ruler Appears in New Shocking Video This is not the first controversy stirred by Dubai's ruler's family in recent years
Cecil Davis | 16 February, 2021, 22:50

Stories of the daughters and wife of Dubai's ruler continue to make headlines and trigger controversies, the latest being a short video recorded and sent to the BBC by his daughter Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in which she uncovered how she has been living. I don't want to be a hostage. "My life is not in my hands".

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Among increasing global concern for the woman's welfare, in December 2018 Mary Robinson attended a family lunch on invitation from Dubai's royal family, and was photographed with the princess.

She said she was then tranquilized as she was being carried on a private jet which then brought her to Dubai.

The odyssey of Princess Latifa, who has reportedly been held prisoner for years, has once again come into the spotlight.

"I can't even go outside to get any fresh air", she also said. "No access to medical help, no trial, no charge, nothing".

In the messages, obtained by BBC Panorama, the pale and increasingly haggard princess, insists: "I'm a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail".

Haya claimed her relationship with Sheikh Mohammed completely broke down in 2019, soon after she started visiting her step-daughter Latifa and asking about Shamsa.

In February 2018, Latifa's attempt to flee the UAE accompanied by her Finnish friend Tiina Jauhiainen along with the former French intelligence officer Hervé Jaubert failed, as an Emirati military unit brought her back from global waters near the Indian coast. She cried for a long time.

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In 2018, AP reported how a friend and an ex-French spy helped Sheikha Latifa escape by boat, only to be captured off India.

Latifa had previously tried to escape by driving to Oman.

A photograph with the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson went viral in December 2018 after it appeared to show proof of Latifa's life, but Ms Robinson now admits she was "horribly tricked".

The sheikh - ruler of Dubai and vice president of the UAE - had applied to the British courts for the summary return to Dubai of their children, Jalila, 12, and Zayed, seven, after Princess Haya, fled with them to London in April past year.

"I was absolutely stunned", Robinson told BBC. "Haya began to explain that Latifa had quite a serious bipolar problem".

Recalling the operation to board the yacht, she said: "I kept saying "you can't take me back, I want asylum and we're in global waters".

"I don't know when I'll be released and what the conditions will be like when I'm released", she says in a video. "And I didn't really actually want to talk to her and increase the trauma over a nice lunch". On a number of occasions, Essabri has claimed himself to be a cousin of Princess Latifa, which is a blatant lie.

"This woman is imprisoned and has no permitted contact with the world", Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, told the BBC. "It's psychologically devastating. Solitary confinement of that sort is broadly considered to be a form of torture, as it becomes prolonged in the way this has".

"The Missing Princess" airs on BBC One in the United Kingdom on Tuesday at 20:30.