In Movies, Dubai Princess Says She Is a ‘Hostage’

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CAIRO — Since 2018, when Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, one of many daughters of the ruler of Dubai, disappeared after attempting to flee her privileged however suffocating life in a royal palace, her mates have insisted she was hauled again house towards her will and was being held incommunicado.

On Tuesday, they produced video proof.

Contradicting her household’s insistence that she has been quietly having fun with time with them at house the previous two years, Sheikha Latifa says in a collection of movies launched by her advocates that she is “a hostage” and fears for her life.

“Every single day, I’m apprehensive about my security in my life. I don’t actually know if I’m going to outlive this case,” Sheikha Latifa mentioned in a single self-recorded video, based on a transcript offered by an advocate engaged on her case, David Haigh.

“The police threaten me that they might take me exterior and shoot me if I didn’t cooperate with them,” she mentioned. “Additionally they threatened me that I might be in jail my entire life and I’ll by no means see the solar once more.”

The sheikha’s case stirred outrage exterior the United Arab Emirates beginning in 2018 after studies emerged in worldwide media that she had tried to flee Dubai on a yacht piloted by a Frenchman claiming to be an ex-spy, just for a workforce of Indian and Emirati commandos to grab the vessel, detain everybody on board and fly her again to Dubai.

In a video recorded earlier than her flight, she mentioned that she needed to go away due to the restrictions her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, had placed on her: Banned from touring exterior Dubai, she was adopted by minders all over the place she went within the city-state her father dominated.

After the 2018 episode, Sheikha Latif was just about unseen in public once more.

By means of a lot of that point, nevertheless, she was secretly recording movies from contained in the villa the place she was held, Mr. Haigh mentioned, normally locking herself in a toilet, the one place she had privateness. After first speaking with mates through letters, she switched to a cellphone that mates had smuggled to her, sending common updates between early 2019 and late 2020, Mr. Haigh mentioned.

In them, based on the transcripts, she mentioned she was being held in a villa that had been successfully transformed right into a jail, with home windows that have been barred shut. 5 cops stood guard exterior, she mentioned, and two feminine officers inside.

Her tried flight in 2018 was minimize brief, Sheikha Latifa mentioned, when commandos stormed the yacht, threw her to the deck, zip-tied her as she tried to combat them off and injected her with tranquilizers. After she was taken again to Dubai by helicopter and personal jet, she mentioned, she was interrogated for 2 weeks and held in solitary confinement in a jail close to the airport.

Among the new movies have been first printed by the BBC on Tuesday. Whereas they may not be independently verified, Mr. Haigh mentioned in an interview that he had ready them for launch. Her household couldn’t be reached for remark.

Earlier than Tuesday, the one current glimpse of Sheikha Latifa had are available December 2018, after she was introduced again to Dubai. Her household launched images of her sitting uneasily with Mary Robinson, a former president of Eire and former United Nations human rights commissioner.

Ms. Robinson mentioned on the time that she believed the sheikha was mentally troubled and recovering within the care of her household. However she has now instructed the BBC that she felt she had been “tricked” when images of what she had assumed was a personal lunch have been made public.

Sheikha Latifa mentioned in one of many movies that she had been coaxed into coming to lunch by Princess Haya, one in every of her father’s wives, however had not recognized who Ms. Robinson was, what the lunch was for, or why her stepmother insisted on taking an image of her with Ms. Robinson. She solely agreed “to be well mannered,” she mentioned.

As for Ms. Robinson’s feedback on the time, Sheikha Latifa mentioned in a single video that “statements about me being with my household or getting therapy or being in restoration is all a lie.”

Her household repeatedly insisted that she make what she referred to as “propaganda,” she mentioned.

“They needed me to do a video and say that I’m right here fortunately and voluntarily. And I refused,” she mentioned in a single video, based on a transcript.

Princess Haya, too, has come to help her stepdaughter’s model of occasions. In court docket paperwork filed in Britain final 12 months after the princess left Dubai together with her younger kids and filed for divorce from the sheikh, she mentioned each Sheikha Latifa and one of many sheikha’s sisters had been harshly punished for attempting to flee prior to now.

By late 2020, the movies from Sheikha Latifa had stopped coming, Mr. Haigh mentioned, prompting him and Tiina Jauhiainen, a Finnish capoeira teacher who accompanied the sheikha on the yacht, to launch them.

They have been additionally timed to land because the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances holds a session on the sheikha’s case.

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