Dubai’s missing Princess Latifa Al Maktoum is “being cared for at home”, the royal family said in a statement on Friday.
“Her family has confirmed that Her Highness is being cared for at home, supported by her family and medical professionals,” the United Arab Emirates’ Embassy in London released a statement by the family.
“She continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time,” the royal family said.
The statement came after the harrowing details of Princess Latifa’s failed attempt to escape the UAE and the ensuing hostage ordeal she is currently suffering were revealed in a BBC Panorama investigation Tuesday.
In footage released by the channel, the Emirati princess describes how she has been locked up in a family villa that has been converted into a jail. She also describes the ordeal she faced when she was kidnapped by Emirati commandos, drugged and flown back to the UAE.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Wednesday that people want to see Princess Latifa “alive and well”.
Speaking to Sky News, Raab said the case of princess is “concerning”. Earlier on Friday, the UN Commission on Human Rights asked UAE for proof that Latifa was alive.
Princess Latifa, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and vice president of the UAE, attempted to flee the country in February 2018.
Latifa and her martial arts trainer Tiina Jauhiainen, who assisted her in the escape, took an inflatable boat and jetted out into international waters where they boarded a US-flagged yacht that was commandeered by French businessman Herve Jaubert.
#UAE embassy statement continues: Sheikha #latifa’s family “has confirmed that Her Highness is being cared for at home, supported by her family and medical professionals.
“She continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time.” 2/2 pic.twitter.com/c6kgEFf1Lv
— Stuart Hughes (@stuartdhughes) February 19, 2021
Just over a week later, the yacht was forcefully boarded by a unit of Emirati commandos off the coast of India. The pair were forced out of their hiding spot in a lower deck bathroom and were held at gunpoint.
According to Panorama, Latifa fought back against the commandos who were taking her off the boat, going as far as kicking and biting in a futile attempt at breaking free. Overcome by the soldiers, Latifa was tranquillized and taken to a private jet which flew her back to Dubai, all the while unconscious.
According to Jauhiainen, she is being held alone and without access to medical help or legal representation. Jauhiainen and Jaubert were held in detention for two weeks in Dubai before being released.
The videos were recorded over a period of seven months on a phone that was secretly given to her a year after her capture and imprisonment. According to Latifa, the bathroom is the only place where she could make such recordings as it was the only room that had a lock.
Latifa’s capture and imprisonment caused an international outcry and the UAE has come under intense pressure, with calls from the UN and various states to release her. In a bid to appease the international community, the UAE arranged a meeting between Latifa and former UN official Mary Robinson in December 2018.
Last year, the High Court in London issued a series of judgements based on a fact-finding process and revealed that Sheikh Mohammed had ordered and orchestrated the abduction of his daughter, Latifa, in 2002 and 2018, as well as her elder sister, Princess Shamsa, in 2000.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk