Sunday, May 9, 2021

UN wants ‘concrete’ proof of life for Dubai princess from father

There are allegations that he has kept her prisoner for three years to prevent her from leaving Dubai.

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The UN has called for the United Arab Emirates to provide “concrete” proof that Princess Latifa Al Maktoum, the daughter of Dubai’s ruler, is alive.

Latifa’s father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is one of the richest heads of state in the world, the ruler of Dubai and vice-president of the UAE.

There are allegations that he has kept her prisoner for three years to prevent her from leaving Dubai.

He has said he is acting in her best interest. A statement from Dubai’s royal family last month reiterated that she was being cared for at home.

“Sheikha Latifa continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time,” it said.

In a statement issued in Geneva on Tuesday, UN human rights officials said she should be released “urgently”.

Latifa tried to flee Dubai in 2018. In footage shared with BBC Panorama, she says commandos drugged her and flew her back to a life of detention in the UAE.

In March, the UN said it was still awaiting further details from the UAE, two weeks after an initial request for proof of life.

In Tuesday’s statement, the UN called on the government of the UAE once again to “provide meaningful information” on Latifa’s fate “without delay”.

They asked for “independent verification of the conditions under which she is being held, and for her immediate release”.

“The statement issued by the Emirates authorities’ merely indicating that she was being ‘cared for at home’ is not sufficient at this stage,” the statement said.

It added: “We are alarmed that, following the public release in February of footage in which Sheikha Latifa reported being deprived of her liberty against her will, and the subsequent official request for further information on her situation, no concrete information has been provided by the authorities.”

In recordings obtained by BBC Panorama in February, Latifa said she was being held hostage in a “villa converted into a jail”.

Using a phone she said she had been secretly given about a year after her capture, Latifa recorded a number of videos over several months.

She recorded them in a bathroom as it had the only door she could lock. In the messages, she said she was being held alone without access to medical or legal help in a villa with windows and doors barred shut, and guarded by police.

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