Dubai royal family says Princess Latifa 'being cared for at home'

Dubai royal family says Princess Latifa 'being cared for at home'
The royal family of Dubai have released a statement claiming that Princess Latifa, widely believed to be imprisoned against her will, is being cared for.
2 min read
19 February, 2021
Princess Latifa's friends lost contact with her a number of months ago [Twitter]

The ruling family of Dubai have said that Princess Latifa is “being cared for at home”, following accusations that she was being held hostage. 

Concerns about Latifa’s safety were raised after an episode of the BBC's Panorama programme showed videos secretly recorded by the princess, in which she described being held prisoner in a villa and cut off from the outside world. 

A statement by the Dubai's Al-Maktoum ruling family, released by the UAE embassy in London, said, “She continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time.”

“In response to media reports regarding Sheikha Latifa, we want to thank those who have expressed concern for her wellbeing, despite the coverage which certainly is not reflective of the actual position,” the statement added. 

No recent photo or video was provided, despite calls from international organisations and human rights bodies, to provide proof of life. 

The statement continued, “Her family has confirmed that Her Highness is being cared for at home, supported by her family and medical professionals.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, has been accused of keeping Latifa prisoner. The princess has not been seen publicly since 2018. 

In video recorded by Latifa, and broadcast by the BBC, Latifa says, "I'm a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail.”

"There's five policemen outside and two policewomen inside the house. Everyday I am worried about my safety and my life.”

In another video, Latifa says her situation is "getting more desperate every day".

"I don't want to be a hostage in this jail villa. I just want to be free.” she adds.

Since the investigation was aired, rights groups have called on the UAE and Dubai to give assurances of Latifa’s safety.

Read more: Beyond the glitz and glam of the UAE lies a sinister cyber surveillance state

“The contents of the videos Sheikha Latifa recorded are chilling, and we are extremely concerned for her safety, as friends say all contact with her stopped in recent months," said Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Lynn Maalouf

At a news briefing, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the UAE had been contacted by the human rights office. 

“We raised our concerns about the situation in light of the disturbing video evidence that emerged this week. We have asked for a proof of life - we have asked for further information,” Liz Throssell said.

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