UAE’s Vice President/Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has locked up his daughter, who was pronounced missing in 2018. Princess Sheikha Latifa has been held against her will in a barricaded villa ever since. BBC’s investigative program, Panorama published the secret videos which the princess recorded from her confinement. In the videos, she has explained her disturbing situation which has forced United Nations (UN) to investigate the matter.
Reportedly, Princess Latifa was trying to escape her family in 2018 after she accused it of abusing and imprisoning her.
She managed to successfully escape with the help of some friends on a small boat before being intercepted at the Indian Ocean by 5 warships, out of which 3 were Indian and 2 were Emirati. According to media reports, PM Narendra Modi ordered the raid on Latifa to return her back to UAE.
She resisted going back so much that she shouted the raiding party to kill her right there instead of taking her back. In the recent videos, she still looked terrified for her life like she was 3 years ago. One may wonder what could be so disturbing for her in the UAE with her family.
Ruler Of Dubai Loses Credibility For This Heinous Act
Princess Latifa’s father and her captor, is one of the richest and most powerful men in all of UAE. The ruler of Dubai has been successful in building an iconic city, which is home to several ex-pats. However, critics have always said that UAE is intolerant towards government opposition and its judicial system openly discriminates again women. Before escaping in 2018, Latifa recorded a video to explain she could not drive, travel, or leave the country, on her father’s orders. So, behind all that shine and glamour, UAE remains in the clutches of oppressive patriarchy, hell-bent on controlling women’s lives.
After stopping her from escaping 3 years ago, Sheikh Maktoum made it look like it was a rescue mission. UAE gave a statement that Princess Latifa was safe in the care of her family. This led some of the international community to turn their heads while a few stuck around to ensure Latifa’s safety on their own. Next year in 2019, one of his many wives, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain also escaped and went to London with her two children. Dubai’s ruler has faced severe criticism over the year for these two incidents. Too many looked like women might be facing some kind of trouble with this man in charge.
Despite being a political figure, Sheikh also has a massive business of horse racing due to which he frequently visits major events such as Royal Ascot in the UK.
How Did The Princess Record The Videos?
The princess recorded the video over several months during her captivity. Skeptics have wondered how come she was able to get her hands on the phone, record video, and then sneak it out if someone was guarding her. Reportedly, a few of her friends did not abandon her in the difficult times. They arranged a phone for her about a year of her kidnapping by her father’s forces. She used the bathroom to record videos as it was the only door available that could be locked.
Videos contained details from the day of her capture to her detention in the prison-like villa, guarded by policemen. She detailed that when commandos raided her boat, she tried to fight them off as well. She even bit one Emirati commando on the arm until he was screaming.
They tried to tranquilize her and carried her on to the private jet to Dubai when she passed out. They threw her in a villa alone, barring all windows and doors, and cutting all access to medical and legal help. Each passing day increased her desperation and posed a new risk to her safety.
Her close friend, Tiina Jauhiainen led an international campaign to free Princess Latifa while enduring false criticism from the enthusiasts of UAE and Dubai. Some even said that she was crazy to accuse the Ruler of Dubai of kidnaping his own daughter. However, she never backed down and continued to struggle for the princess’ dream of freedom.
Latifa’s friends told BBC that they were getting more concerned than ever for her safety in these times.
United Nations To Ask Questions From UAE
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) responded by confirming that it would push the case of princess Latifa and ask some questions from the UAE.
According to the reports, UN could launch a deep investigation after completing the analyses of Latifa’s video messages. The UK claimed that it has no direct link but acknowledged it as a concerning case. PM Boris Johnson vowed to follow the development as UN investigated the case.
This still does not reduce concern because the UN also has dwindling credibility when it comes to prioritizing global issues. According to reports, a UN Human Rights Envoy met with Latifa while she was held up against her will. Instead of investigating her condition and pressure, former UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Mary Robinson looked happy after meeting the captive. Her photographs with Latifa have also resurfaced, which were hidden until now. Robinson claimed that she was tricked in the photographs, whatever that means.
The concerned community took it like nothing but a corporate photo-op for the business profile of the so-called United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).
A lot of critics do not believe that the UN can do anything to free Princess Latifa, who seems to be in great trouble.