Sci-tech

Princess Latifa says she is detained in Dubai

Princess Latifa says she is detained in Dubai”

Princess Latifa, daughter of the Emir of Dubai, who tried unsuccessfully to flee the Gulf city-state in 2018, says she is being held as a "hostage" in videos broadcast by the BBC and fearing for her life.

"I'm a hostage", the sheikha says in one video. She talks about not knowing what her fate will be and about being exhausted of living in that place.

Sheikha Latifa, 35, fled by boat in 2018 and planned to seek asylum in the United States, but she has said she was intercepted by commandos, tranquillised and flown back home.

The videos of the troubled royal were recorded over several months on a phone that she was secretly given about a year after her alleged capture and return to Dubai.

This is not the first time the ruler of Dubai faces accusations of family abuse.

Last year, a British judge ruled that Sheikh Mohammed, the emir of Dubai, was keeping Latifa and another daughter, Shamsa, captive, and had waged a harassment campaign against his former wife, Princess Haya bint Hussein, the half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan.

"It's as if her father, the Dubai ruler, is trying to subject her to such mental cruelty that she finally gives up and accepts life controlled by him", Roth said.

Those who had managed to contact the princess say they are now anxious for her well-being after the messages, sent after her kidnapping in March 2018, suddenly stopped.

Video of Dubai princess reveals details of her 'hostage' situation in police-guarded 'prison villa'

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

Panorama identifies the friends who have provided the videos as her maternal cousin Marcus Essabri, Tiina Jauhiainen, the Finnish coach who accompanied her in his escape, and activist David Haigh.

The UAE and Dubai had previously responded to allegations of her being held against her will by saying she was safe and in the care of her family.

Mary Robinson, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who has met Princess Latifa, said she had been told during a visit to Dubai that the princess suffered from bipolar disorder.

"I was particularly tricked when the photographs went public", Robinson told the BBC.

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 worldwide waters". "I just want to be free", she added. "And I didn't really actually want to talk to her and increase the trauma over a nice lunch".

Kenneth Roth, executive director of advocacy group Human Rights Watch, called on the UAE government to put an end to the case.

In 2019, the tensions within Dubai's ruling family were laid bare before England's High Court after one of the sheikh's wives, Princess Haya, fled to the United Kingdom with two of her children and applied for a protection order and non-molestation order against the sheikh. "The police threaten me that I will never see the sun again".

More news: UK Eyes Next Phase In Vaccine Rollout As 15 Million Get Jabs



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