The United Nations’ human rights body stated that it will ask for a report from the United Arab Emirates about a daughter of Dubai’s supreme ruler after she spoke in video messages that she was being detained in a heavily patrolled villa.
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum attempted to escape the rich Gulf state in 2018 but was arrested by commandos in a boat off India. She had not been heard from until Tuesday when the BBC’s “Panorama” investigative program broadcast video messages from the sheikha. In the videos, which seem to have been filmed covertly, the 35-year-old princess states that she is “worried about my safety and my life.” I don’t really know if I’m going to survive this situation,” she says in one of the videos. The BBC said they were taped over months on a phone she privately took about a year after her arrest.
Marcus Essabri, a cousin who exists in England, told that the videos ended about six months ago and there had been no information from Latifa since then.“I fear they caught her with the phone and now I am fearful for her safety,” he said. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said it would “raise these new developments with the UAE.”
“Other parts of the UN human rights system with relevant mandates may also become involved once they have analyzed the new material or received specific allegations,” representative Rupert Colville told. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called the videos “very distressing” and said he supported a U.N inquiry. Raab said Britain was “concerned,” but advised there was concise the administration could make because Latifa is not a U.K. national.
Sheikh Mohammed and the Dubai royal court have stated that Latifa is protected in the loving care of her family. The UAE government’s Dubai Media Office did not react to a call for remark from The Associated Press. In 2018, the AP announced how a friend and an ex-French spy served Sheikha Latifa to escape by boat, only to be caught off India. The dramatic exit trial and its aftermath encroached into the delicately managed image supported by the family of Latifa’s father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Sheikh Mohammed, who directs Dubai and also works as the prime minister and vice president in the hereditarily administered UAE, is supposed to have several dozen children from various wives. Some of his sons and daughters figure prominently in local media and online, but others are seldom observed. Sheikha Latifa was popularly known for her love of skydiving earlier in 2018. Sheikh Mohammed’s family life again became a public subject in 2020. Then, a British judge directed that the sheik had led a campaign of agitation and bullying against his estranged wife and directed the abduction of two of his daughters, one of them Sheikha Latifa. The ruling came in a High Court custody dispute between Sheikh Mohammed and U.K-based estranged wife Princess Haya, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan.
Sheikh Mohammed is the patron of the successful Godolphin horse-racing stable and is on familiar terms with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. In 2019, he won a trophy from the queen after one of his horses won a race at Royal Ascot.