The ‘missing Princess’
The daughter of a rich sheikh hasn’t been seen or heard from in months, and concern for her whereabouts continues…
It’s a topic that’s caused international concern and now, the United Nations have been asked to try to determine… where is Princess Latifa?
She is the 35-year-old daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – one of the richest heads of state in the world, the ruler of Dubai and vicepresident of the United Arab Emirates (UEA).
Concern for her began back in 2018, after the Princess fled her home, before being captured and claiming she was being held hostage by the Dubai ruling royal family.
They recently declared she is ‘ being cared for at home’ and hope she will be able to ‘return to public life at the appropriate time’. Yet no pictures or videos were released with the statement. So, where is the Princess…?
Latifa, it has been claimed, has endured a difficult relationship with her father over the years that has resulted in her trying to escape his kingdom twice, once in 2002 and again in 2018.
She said she tried to escape what she called his ‘repressive control’, claiming she had been drugged and tortured on the orders of her father.
The sheikh has denied all abuse claims made by his daughter, who is one of 30 children he has with six wives.
In 2018 she fled the country by jet ski but was captured eight days later by Indian commandos off the coast of Goa and returned to her father’s custody, where she claimed, in newly released footage, that she has been held captive ever since.
The royal recorded the videos over several weeks in 2019 and sent them to her best friend, Tiina Jauhiainen, who released them to the BBC to draw attention to her friend’s plight.
Tiina says she is worried for the royal’s safety because she has not spoken to her for nine months. Latifa’s friends and wider family also say they are concerned for her wellbeing.
Prior to her escape attempt, Latifa had recorded a video which made its way on to YouTube. ‘If you are watching this video, it’s not such a good thing, either I’m dead or I’m in a very, very, very bad situation,’ she said.
The video put the UAE under pressure to account for her whereabouts. A meeting was later arranged with Mary Robinson, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the request of Latifa’s stepmother, Princess Haya.
The three women had lunch and having previously described Latifa as a ‘troubled young woman’, Robinson has since claimed she was ‘ horribly tricked’ by the Princess’s family and has joined calls to establish Latifa’s current condition.
On a phone secretly given to the princess approximately a year after her capture, she recorded a number of messages over a matter of months, saying she was being held alone in a property where the windows and doors were barred shut and guarded by police.
Any contact with friends has ceased. The UN have asked for proof of life – yet all that’s been released is the statement from the Dubai royal family saying she is being cared for.
It isn’t the first time the family have been associated with scandal – in 2019, Princess Haya, the sheikh’s wife, also fled Dubai, along with her two children, telling friends she feared for her life.
It makes the safety of Princess Latifa even more pressing…