Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says case of Emirati princess ‘concerning’. People want to see Princess Latifa of the United Arab Emirates “alive and well”, the British foreign secretary said Wednesday.
Speaking to SkyNews, Dominic Raab said the case of princess is “concerning.”
He said the images that appeared recently on British news channels in which Princess Latifa said she has been held hostage by her father are “very distressing.”
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 investigation Tuesday.
Raab said: “We always raise human rights issues with all of our partners, including the UAE.
“The United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights will be following up on what we have seen, and we will be watching and monitoring that very closely indeed.”
“People just on a human level want to see that she is alive and well. Of course, that is a natural instinct and we would certainly welcome that,” Raab also said.
In the secretly filmed footage by the princess, she 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.
“I am in a villa. I’m a hostage, and this villa has been converted into a jail. All the windows are barred shut. I can’t open any window. There’s five policemen outside and two policewomen inside the house. And I can’t even go outside to get any fresh air,” the princess said in the recording.
“I don’t know when I’ll be released and what the conditions will be like when I’m released. Every day, I am worried about my safety and my life. I don’t really know if I’m going to survive this situation. I don’t know what they’re planning to do with me. I really don’t know. So the situation is getting more desperate every day. I am just really, really tired of this now,” Latifa added.
- Imprisoned princess
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 her 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.
Just over a week later, the yacht was forcefully boarded by a unit of Emirati commandos off the coast of India. The pair was forced out of their hiding spot in a lower deck bathroom and held at gunpoint.
According to BBC, 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.