Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa held “hostage”: Who is Latifa? What she said? Reactions from Dubai Royal and the World?
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, daughter of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum(AP).
Who is Sheikha Latifa – Dubai Princess
Sheikha Latifa, 35, was educated at the Dubai English Speaking School, followed by the International School Choueifat and one year at the Latifa School for Girls.
She is said to be an excellent and experienced skydiver, trained by former world champion Stefania Martinengo, according to Hindustantimes.
Latifa had attempted a daring escape from the middle-easterm country on February 24, 2018 when she and her Finnish friend Tiina Jauhiainen left Dubai in a car and crossed into Oman. They took jet-skis from there and met former French intelligence officer Herve Jaubert and his crew on the yacht Nostromo.
She alerted British human rights lawyer David Haigh of Detained International of her departure two days later. Jaubert made contact with an Indian journalist on March 3, 2018, in preparation for their arrival, but the yacht was intercepted by Indian authorities as they were approaching Goa.
The attempted sea escape and its aftermath threw the carefully controlled family image of Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed into public life.
On December 24, 2018, the UAE authorities released three low resolution images of Latifa meeting with former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson. The meeting was scheduled by Princess Haya, one of the UAE Prime Minister's wives, as per Robinson.
Robinson described Latifa as a 'troubled young woman' on BBC Radio 4.
However, Robinson's comments were criticised by rights groups and Detained in Dubai's head, Radha Stirling, for repeating the Dubai's official version of the story almost word to word. Latifa's representatives also questioned the nature of Robinson's visit and called for an independent investigation.
What did she said in the video
"Every day, I’m worried about my safety and my life. I don’t really know if I’m going to survive this situation," Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, 35, says in one self-recorded phone video. A transcript was provided by David Haigh, Tiina Jauhiainen and Marcus Essabri, Britain-based advocates working on her behalf who hope the Biden administration's focus on human rights will pressure Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum – who is also the United Arab Emirates' billionaire prime minister – to release his daughter. Essabri is Sheikha Latifa's maternal cousin, USA Today reported. "The police threaten me that they would take me outside and shoot me if I didn’t cooperate with them," Sheikha Latifa says in the video. "They also threatened me that I would be in prison my whole life and I’ll never see the sun again."
Sheikha Latifa's family claim she is completely fine and recuperating safely at home after an ordeal that they insist was a failed abduction of the then 33-year-old royal.
Where and when did the video film?
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 aired separately as part of a BBC investigation on Tuesday night.
"I am a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail," she says in the video.
Haigh said the clips were filmed between early 2019 and early 2020 – so more than a year after Sheikha Latifa was captured and returned to Dubai. He said they were being released now because his team's secret communications with Sheikha Latifa had dried up and there had been no recent confirmation that she was still alive. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is preparing to question the UAE about her.
Haigh would not reveal how a phone was smuggled to Sheikha Latifa.
How the Dubai royal and the world reacts to Sheikha Latifa’s video?
Sheikh Mohammed and the Dubai royal court have said that Latifa is safe in the care of her family.
What has the world said?
On Wednesday, the United Nations’ human rights body said it will seek information from the United Arab Emirates about Latifa's fresh allegations.
“Other parts of the UN human rights system with relevant mandates may also become involved once they have analysed the new material or received specific allegations,” spokesperson Rupert Colville said.
A photo, released by the UAE, of Latifa with Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who appeared in those 2018 photos with Latifa after her return to Dubai, told the BBC that she had been misled by Emirati authorities. Ms Robinson said she had been told that Latifa was a troubled young woman safe in the care of her family.
“I was particularly tricked when the photographs went public,” Ms Robinson said.
“That was a total surprise.... I was absolutely stunned.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government was “concerned” by the reports, but would “wait and see” how an investigation by the United Nations into the videos unfolds.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called the videos “very distressing” and said he supported a UN investigation.
Mr Raab said Britain was “concerned,” but suggested there was little the government could do because Latifa is not a UK national.
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