Tue. Mar 2nd, 2021
In Videos, Dubai Princess Says She Is a ‘Hostage’


CAIRO — Given that 2018, when Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, 1 of the daughters of the ruler of Dubai, disappeared just after striving to escape her privileged but suffocating daily life in a royal palace, her good friends have insisted she was hauled back to Dubai towards her will and was getting held incommunicado.

On Tuesday, they made video proof.

Contradicting her family’s insistence that she has been quietly enjoying time with them at household the previous two many years, Sheikha Latifa says in a series of video clips launched by her advocates that she is “a hostage” and fears for her daily life.

“Every day, I’m concerned about my security in my daily life. I really do not actually know if I’m going to survive this scenario,” Sheikha Latifa stated in 1 self-recorded video, in accordance to a transcript supplied by an advocate functioning on her situation, David Haigh.

“The police threaten me that they would consider me outdoors and shoot me if I did not cooperate with them,” she stated. “They also threatened me that I would be in prison my complete daily life and I’ll by no means see the sun yet again.”

The sheikha’s situation stirred outrage outdoors the United Arab Emirates just after reviews emerged in global media that she had attempted to flee Dubai on a yacht piloted by a Frenchman claiming to be an ex-spy, only for a group of Indian and Emirati commandos to seize the vessel, detain absolutely everyone on board and fly her back to Dubai.

In a video recorded prior to her flight, she stated that she desired to depart simply because of the restrictions her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, had place on her: Banned from traveling outdoors Dubai, she was followed by minders all over the place she went in the city-state her father ruled.

Following the 2018 episode, Sheikha Latif was practically unseen in public yet again.

By considerably of that time, even so, she was secretly recording video clips from within the villa in which she was held, Mr. Haigh stated, typically locking herself in a bathroom, the only spot she had privacy. Following initially communicating with good friends by means of letters, she switched to a cell phone that good friends had smuggled to her, sending standard updates among early 2019 and late 2020, Mr. Haigh stated.

In them, in accordance to the transcripts, she stated she was getting held in a villa that had been proficiently converted into a jail, with windows that have been barred shut. 5 police officers stood guard outdoors, she stated, and two female officers within.

Her attempted flight in 2018 was reduce quick, Sheikha Latifa stated, when commandos stormed the yacht, threw her to the deck, zip-tied her as she attempted to battle them off and injected her with tranquilizers. Following she was taken back to Dubai by helicopter and personal jet, she stated, she was interrogated for two weeks and held in solitary confinement in a prison close to the airport.

Some of the new video clips have been initially published by the BBC on Tuesday. When they could not be independently verified, Mr. Haigh stated in an interview that he had ready them for release. Her family members could not be reached for comment.

Ahead of Tuesday, the only current glimpse of Sheikha Latifa had come in December 2018, just after she was brought back to Dubai. Her family members launched pictures of her sitting uneasily with Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and former United Nations human rights commissioner.

Ms. Robinson stated at the time that she believed the sheikha was mentally troubled and recovering in the care of her family members. But she has now informed the BBC that she felt she had been “tricked” when images of what she had assumed was a personal lunch have been manufactured public.

Sheikha Latifa stated in 1 of the video clips that she had been coaxed into coming to lunch by Princess Haya, 1 of her father’s wives, but had not regarded who Ms. Robinson was, what the lunch was for, or why her stepmother insisted on taking a image of her with Ms. Robinson. She only agreed “to be polite,” she stated.

As for Ms. Robinson’s feedback at the time, Sheikha Latifa stated in 1 video that “statements about me getting with my family members or obtaining remedy or getting in recovery is all a lie.”

Her family members repeatedly insisted that she make what she identified as “propaganda,” she stated.

“They desired me to do a video and say that I’m right here happily and voluntarily. And I refused,” she stated in 1 video, in accordance to a transcript.

Princess Haya, also, has come to assistance her stepdaughter’s model of occasions. In court paperwork filed in Britain final yr just after the princess left Dubai with her younger small children and filed for divorce from the sheikh, she stated the two Sheikha Latifa and 1 of the sheikha’s sisters had been harshly punished for striving to escape in the previous.

By late 2020, the video clips from Sheikha Latifa had stopped coming, Mr. Haigh stated, prompting him and Tiina Jauhiainen, a Finnish capoeira instructor who accompanied the sheikha on the yacht, to release them.

They have been also timed to land as the United Nations Doing work Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances holds a session on the sheikha’s situation.

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