Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa says she is ‘hostage’ after flee attempt

The princess daughter of Dubai’s ruler is held captive by her family and fears for her life after an attempt to flee the rich emirate in 2018. This is evident from new video evidence in a case highlighted by USA TODAY and others.

“I worry about my safety and my life every day. I don’t really know whether I will survive this situation,” says Sheikha Latifa of Mohammed al-Maktoum (35) in a self-recorded telephone video. David Haigh and Tiina Jauhiainen, UK-based lawyers who work on their behalf, hope the Biden government’s focus on human rights will put pressure on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the United Arab Emirates billionaire. to release his daughter.

“The police threatened that they would take me outside and shoot me if I didn’t cooperate with them,” says Sheikha Latifa in the video. “They also threatened me that I would be in prison my whole life and that I would never see the sun again.”

Sheikha Latifa’s family claim she is completely fine and will be safely recovering at home after insisting that the then 33-year-old queen was abducted.

Princess Sheikha Latifa tried to flee Dubai:She left a video to prove it

The video clips were filmed in the bathroom of a barricaded villa in Dubai, where Sheikha Latifa says she is being held against her will and without access to the outside world. The footage was broadcast separately on Tuesday night as part of a BBC investigation.

“I’m a hostage and this mansion has been turned into a prison,” she says in the video.

Haigh said the clips were shot between late 2019 and early 2020 – more than a year after Sheikha Latifa was captured and returned to Dubai. He said they were now being released because his team’s secret communications with Sheikha Latifa had dried up and there was no up-to-date confirmation that she was still alive. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is preparing to question the UAE about her.

The family of Loujain al-Hathloul, a Saudi suffragette, thanked President Joe Biden last week after being released from prison in the deeply conservative kingdom in another case condemned by the United Nations and rights groups around the world had been. Biden has pledged to give human rights a higher priority than his predecessor Donald Trump, who persistently ignored Al-Hathloul’s plight. The 31-year-old was arrested in 2018 after posting videos of herself driving online. The videos were an act of resistance to the oil-rich kingdom’s long-standing ban on women driving.

Saudi rights activist released from prison:Loujain al-Hathloul was sexually assaulted

Trump also largely overlooked the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey.

Sheikha Latifa’s new footage confirms previously reported details of her daring escape from Dubai and how she was forcibly returned to the UAE in a US-registered boat nine days after her escape. She was arrested off the coast of India in international waters with Jauhiainen, a Finland-born capoeira instructor who was teaching Afro-Brazilian martial arts to Sheikha Latifa before she became her confidante.

Jauhiainen helped Sheikha Latifa plan the escape, which involved traveling 15 miles in a small rubber dinghy to join a sailing ship that was waiting for them off the coast of nearby Oman. When the boat was later stormed by Indian commandos, Jauhiainen and the French-born American captain of the boat were beaten and threatened with execution before they were released. Sheikha Latifa was forcibly returned to Dubai.

Sheikha Latifa had planned her escape from Dubai’s ruling family for seven years and ran away from the oppressive and cruel treatment of her father. USA TODAY checked emails, pictures, encrypted social media messages, ID certificates, satellite data, and audio and video data to prove what happened to her.

Her case was originally brought to the attention of human rights activists and international lawyers for leaving a YouTube video with instructions for publication in case her plan to escape Dubai failed. It was released in March 2018.

“I am not allowed to drive. I am not allowed to travel or leave Dubai,” said Sheikha Latifa in the YouTube video that was recorded before her flight.

Prior to the release of the new footage, Sheikha Latifa had not been heard since December 2018 after being brought back to Dubai when her family posted photos of her sitting next to Mary Robinson, a former Irish president and ex-president. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. In the photos, Sheikha Latifa looks dazed and confused. Robinson now admits that she was deceived into believing that Sheikha Latifa was simply depressed and did not know she was being held captive in isolation.

Robinson said she was “terribly tricked” by Sheikha Latifa’s family.

US attorney in March 2019 Lisa Bloom, who has built a career as a defender of women against powerful men, joined Haigh, Jauhiainen and other right-wing activists in calling for legal scrutiny over what happened to Sheikha Latifa. In an email, however, Bloom said she hadn’t worked on the case in a while because “it was difficult to envision a legal lawsuit I could handle from the US, especially if I don’t have access to it “.

US attorney Lisa Bloom:Boycott Dubai over ‘captured’ Princess Sheikha Latifa

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is one of the richest heads of state in the world. His interests include a vast horse racing empire that includes horse farms in Lexington, Kentucky. He often takes part in major horse races in Great Britain, such as Royal Ascot, where he was portrayed alongside Queen Elizabeth II.

He has tirelessly portrayed Dubai as an enlightened, business-friendly city-state.

It has first-class infrastructure, luxury shopping malls, a skyline filled with skyscrapers, and a large number of expatriates. However, humanitarian groups such as New York’s Human Rights Watch and the UK-based Emirates Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit, say Dubai has a downside, with torture, disappearances, arbitrary detention and those who violate its cultural restrictions Unfair trials are exposed to violence.

Women are allowed to drive, vote, and own and inherit property in Dubai, but some aspects of a woman’s personal life are still strictly controlled by male guardians, such as: B. who they can marry. Sheikha Latifa had ambitions to study medicine abroad.

Toby Cadman, a London-based human rights attorney who was implicated for a while in the Sheikha Latifa case, said it was worrying that the new recordings were made some time ago and it is not entirely clear whether she is still alive.

He said the United Nations may need new evidence of life to be obtained from the UAE, which British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab requested on Wednesday.

“The likelihood is that her family found out she was using a phone to communicate and either killed her or that she was in a far worse situation than before,” said Cadman.


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