Runaway Dubai princess, daughter of MBR, 'dragged home kicking and screaming' after escape raid

Runaway Dubai princess, daughter of MBR, 'dragged home kicking and screaming' after escape raid
A Dubai princess who accused ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of imprisoning and torturing her, was returned to the emirate after attempting to escape, rights group said.
3 min read
18 April, 2018
The princess filmed a 40-minute video before attempting to escape the UAE [YouTube]
The daughter of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who announced she would run away from the Gulf emirate in a video posted online, was “brought back” home, according to a source close to the Dubai government quoted by AFP.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum was tracked down by authorities and returned home to her family, the source said, although he could not confirm the current whereabouts of the 32-year-old princess.

“It is a domestic issue that transformed into a soap opera that transformed into a rampaging scheme to tarnish the reputation of Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed,” the source added, blaming rival Qatar of fuelling the campaign calling for the young princess’ freedom.

Sheikha Latifa was travelling by boat when commando forces allegedly intercepted the vessel in the Arabian Sea and carried her away kicking and screaming, according to Herve Jaubert, a French former spy who assisted the princess in her escape.

Three Indian and two Emirati warships allegedly intercepted the boat on March 4, Jaubert said.

Tiina Jauhiainen, who along with Jaubert witnessed the alleged interception, said Sheikha Latifa repeatedly shouted “I am seeking political asylum” during the raid. 

“At that time I was told to keep my eyes shut, with a threat to be shot if I didn’t comply,” Jauhiainen said at a news conference in London on Thursday. “Then I heard someone speaking Arabic and Latifa said: ‘Shoot me here, just don’t take me back to the UAE.”‘

“She was taken away kicking and screaming.”

Sheikha Latifa, whose mother is Algerian Horriya Ahmed, spoke for 40-minutes in a video that was uploaded onto YouTube in March, where she described her life and struggles with living under the authority of the Dubai ruler.

“I’m making this video because it could be the last video I make,” she began, before attempting to cram information about her life into the video that was passed on to Jaubert and lawyers, along with documents to prove her identity, before her escape attempt.

Dressed in a blue T-shirt with her hair in a ponytail, Sheikha Latifa explained how she was one of at least 30 children to be fathered by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, whom she described as a “dangerous man”.

“Pretty soon I’m going to be leaving somehow and I’m not so sure of the outcome, but I’m 99 percent positive it will work. And, if it doesn’t, then this video can help me because all my father cares about is his reputation,” Latifa said.

In the video, Sheikh Latifa spoke of her sister who was “locked up” and kept isolated in the family home for her “rebellious behaviour”.

In a bid to save her sister, Sheikha Latifa said she attempted to escape in 2002 but failed and was also put into prison in the palace for a year and one month - in a building dubbed ‘The Khaimah”, she said.

“They put me in prison and they tortured me,” she said. “One guy was holding me while the other guy was beating me, and they did that repeatedly”.

“They told me: your father told me to beat you until we kill you,” she said, before describing the ruler of Dubai as “the most evil person I’ve ever met in my life” while holding back tears.

Before ending the video, Sheikha Latifa confirmed her attempt to escape is “the start of me claiming my life, my freedom”.

The princess’ current whereabouts are not known, but her case has been picked up by London-based for-hire advocacy group, Detained in Dubai.