#FindLatifa: Support for 'tortured' Dubai ruler's daughter after failed escape bid

#FindLatifa: Support for 'tortured' Dubai ruler's daughter after failed escape bid
The daughter of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, attempted to flee her home after claiming to have been held prisoner.
3 min read
16 Apr, 2018
The video was only meant to be released if Latifa's life was in danger [Youtube]
Support has poured in for an Emirati princess who reportedly attempted to flee the UAE before being detained and returned to her country.

Last month, Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the prime minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai, attempted to escape to the US after she alleged she had been subjected to years of torture by her father.

The 33-year-old, who travelled via yacht to Goa along with French former naval intelligence officer Herve Jaubert and her Finnish personal trainer Tiina Jauhiainen, was detained and taken back to the UAE after the boat was stormed by Indian authorities, reported The Times.

Latifa's plight came to light after campaign group Detained in Dubai, which works on behalf of people caught up in the UAE's legal system, released a 40-minute video in which Latifa describes how she and her sister were held virtual prisoners by the family. The video was supposed to be made public if her escape attempt failed.

"I'm making this video because it could be the last video I make," Latifa said in a haunting vlog, in which she added: "If you are watching the video, it's not such a good thing - either I'm dead or I'm in a very, very, very bad situation."

She explains her story of being jailed after trying to free her sister, Shamsa, who has allegedly been held captive for 16 years at the request of their father after she tried to run away to London. After Shamsa's detention in 2002, Latifa wanted to free her older sister, she said.

Latifa, then 16, attempted to escape the UAE but was caught at the border, which led to her being imprisoned and tortured at her father's orders, she claimed.

"I think the first time was torturing me, I didn't feel any pain because I was in so much shock," she said, adding that Mohammed al-Maktoum ordered her torturers to beat her to death. Despite surviving the torture, she suffered mental health problems, she said.

Latifa's latest escape attempt came in March. The plan was to sail to Goa, then travel to Mumbai ahead of a flight to the United States, where Latifa intended to claim political asylum. 

"We were blindfolded and handcuffed... Altogether there were like five warships, two planes and a helicopter," Jaubert said in his first account of the saga that led to Latifa being returned to the UAE.

A flood of support for the princess has come from across the world demanding to know her whereabouts since her detention.

The haunting nature of the video was noted by its viewers:

Dubai and the Emirati authorities have not commented on Sheikha Latifa's allegations.