Dubai: Princess Sheikha Latifa, daughter of Dubai’s ruler who tried to flee the country in 2018, has re-emerged in a new video released on Tuesday, saying she is kept hostage in a villa. Latifa detained by commandos in a boat off India two years ago during her attempt to flee.
The videos released by the BBC show Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum at a “jail villa,” apparently located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also serves as the Prime Minister and vice president in the monarchy-run UAE.
In a video clip, obtained by BBC Panorama, Princess Latifa says: “I’m a hostage. This villa has been converted into a jail. All the windows are barred shut, I can’t open any window … I’ve been by myself, solitary confinement. No access to medical help, no trial, no charge, nothing.”
The videos, part of an episode of BBC’s “Panorama” investigative series being broadcast Tuesday, also include an interview with Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Robinson appeared in photos with Latifa published by Emirati officials after the sheikha’s return to Dubai in 2018.
Robinson told the BBC that she had been misled by Emirati authorities who told her Latifa was a troubled young woman safe in the care of her family.
Latifa was last seen publicly in March 2018 aboard a yacht off the coast of India before a raid by Indian and Emirati forces took her back to Dubai, according to two people who had helped plan her escape.
It was her second failed attempt to flee abroad after she previously tried to leave the UAE in 2002 as a teenager. After her failed escape in 2018, in December of that year Latifa was visited by the former UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson.
She was seen in grainy photographs alongside Robinson, a former President of Ireland, who said later that Latifa was “troubled” and “regretted” her attempts to escape. Robinson’s account was criticized by human rights activists.
Following the video, Twitter exploded with reactions,