Missing Dubai princess re-emerges in videos at 'jail villa'

Mary Robinson says she was 'horribly tricked' by Dubai princess' family

Mary Robinson says she was 'horribly tricked' by Dubai princess' family

In secret video messages sent to her friends, Princess Latifa Al Maktoum, daughter of Dubai ruler and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said she was being held hostage by her father.

In the messages, obtained by BBC Panorama, the pale and increasingly haggard princess, insists: "I'm a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail".

Mary Robinson, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who has met Princess Latifa, said she had been told during a visit to Dubai that the princess suffered from bipolar disorder.

The BBC said the authorities in Dubai and the UAE had failed to respond to requests to comment on the princess's current condition.

In the wake of Robinson's trip, both the Dubai communication office and the UAE said Latifa was safe and in the care of her family.

In February 2018, Latifa's attempt to flee the UAE accompanied by her Finnish friend Tiina Jauhiainen along with the former French intelligence officer Hervé Jaubert failed, as an Emirati military unit brought her back from global waters near the Indian coast.

Mary Robinson has joined calls for global action to find out where Princess Latifa is now located. "I think it needs to be investigated", he says.

The videos of the troubled royal were recorded over several months on a phone that she was secretly given about a year after her alleged capture and return to Dubai. She recorded them in a bathroom as it had the only door she could lock.

In the 1:28 seconds video shared by BBC Latifa talks about being jailed in a villa with shuttered windows and locked doors and guarded by five policemen.

Latifa was returned to Dubai, and hadn't been heard from since until now.

Mary Robinson says she was 'horribly tricked' by Dubai princess' family

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson has said she was "horribly tricked" by the family of Dubai's ruler.


"I wasn't against the photograph".

"I was misled, initially by my good friend Princess Haya, because she was misled", she told Panorama. Horribly tricked. I mean that was a total surprise.

Dr Robinson told the programme she did not ask Latifa about her situation because she did not want to "increase the trauma" of her "condition". "I was absolutely stunned".

The messages to friends detail how she bought with the soldiers taking her off the boat as she tried to escape, "kicking and fighting" and biting one Emirati commando's arm until he screamed.

It is the latest development in a years-long string of headline-grabbing stories involving Dubai's ruling family and its patriarch, Sheikh Mohammed.

In 2019, the tensions within Dubai's ruling family were laid bare before England's High Court after one of the sheikh's wives, Princess Haya, fled to the United Kingdom with two of her children and applied for a protection order and non-molestation order against the sheikh.

On the decision to release the messages now, Ms Jauhiainen just says that "a lot of time has passed" since contact was lost.

"I can't even go outside to get any fresh air", she also said.

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