The failed break for free­dom of a princess

Western Daily Press - - Today’s Tv -

HUGELY sad and a com­pelling story, this doc­u­men­tary be­gins with Princess Lat­ifa, daugh­ter of the ruler of Dubai, talk­ing to a home video. “I’m not sure of the out­come, but I’m 99 per cent pos­i­tive it will work,” she says, adding: “If you’re watch­ing this video, it’s not a good thing.

“Ei­ther I’m dead or I’m in a very, very bad sit­u­a­tion.”

In Fe­bru­ary, the 33-year-old daugh­ter of Sheikh Mo­hammed boarded a boat and set sail for In­dia with a plan to start a new life in Amer­ica.

But within days her boat was stormed by In­dian com­man­dos – she was cap­tured and pre­sum­ably re­turned to Dubai.

No one has heard from her since.

Be­fore her at­tempted es­cape, she made the video, en­trust­ing it to a lawyer in Amer­ica, and it was re­leased on YouTube days later. This fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­men­tary pieces ev­ery­thing to­gether, with Lat­ifa her­self es­sen­tially the nar­ra­tor as we watch her video through­out.

We hear of her seem­ingly per­fect life, with wealth and lux­ury and money on tap.

But the re­al­ity was very dif­fer­ent.

“Ev­ery­thing is very re­stricted,” she says.

The shiny, he­do­nis­tic, mod­ern life­style of Dubai is “all PR”, she says.

Lat­ifa tells how she tried to es­cape in 2002 when she was 16, but was caught at the bor­der.

She claims she was im­pris­oned and tor­tured re­peat­edly be­fore her re­lease aged 19.

The film asks, is the lux­ury hol­i­day im­age of Dubai ac­tu­ally hid­ing a bru­tal dic­ta­tor­ship of hu­man rights abuses where tourists can be locked up for as lit­tle as kiss­ing in pub­lic?

There’s also an in­ter­view with Lat­ifa’s best friend Tina Jauhi­ainen, who helped with her es­cape plans but watched her be­ing dragged away by the com­mando unit.

Princess Lat­ifa, left, and Tina Jauhi­ainen

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