The daughter of Dubai’s billionaire ruler, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, who attempted to flee abroad in 2018, has released a secret video stating her fear that she might lose her life in a “villa converted into jail” where she has been kept since she was captured, BBC reports.
Latifa said she has not been allowed access to medical help in the “dark house with barred windows” that she is restricted to.
Princess Latifa was imprisoned by her father, UAE Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for trying to flee Dubai for a new life abroad with the help of her friend Tiina Jauhiainen in March 2018.
She 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.
It was her second failed attempt to flee abroad after she previously tried to leave the UAE in 2002 as a teenager.
Princess Latifa, in a video clip aired by BBC Tuesday night, said, “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. Every day I am worried about my safety and the police threaten me that I will never see the sun again. I am not safe here.”
The princess secretly recorded the videos of herself on a mobile phone whilst hiding in a locked bathroom.
A documentary by BBC says around a year after Latifa was taken back to Dubai, Jauhiainen was contacted by someone who helped her secretly reconnect with her. Jauhiainen was able to secretly send a phone to Latifa who has since then recorded several videos.
“BBC Panorama has independently verified the details of where Latifa was being held hostage. She was guarded by around 30 police, working on rotation, both inside and outside the villa. The location is just metres from the beach. It is not known if she is still there,” BBC press release says.
Jauhiainen tells the documentary she is greatly concerned for her friend, “She is so pale, she hasn’t seen sunlight for months. She can basically move just from her room to the kitchen and back.”
Latifa’s father and the Dubai Royal Court had earlier claimed she is safe in the loving care of her family.
Ex-UN rights envoy Mary Robinson, who came under strong criticism when she previously described Latifa as a “troubled young woman” after meeting her in 2018, now says she was “horribly tricked” by the princess’s family.
“I was misled, initially by my good friend princess Haya, because she was misled. Haya began to explain that Latifa had quite a serious bipolar problem. And they were saying to me, in a very convincing way, ‘we don’t want Latifa to go through any further trauma.’ I didn’t know how to address somebody who was bipolar about their trauma. And I didn’t want to talk to her and increase the trauma over a nice lunch,” she said.