A photo of Dubai Princess Latifa, who has claimed she is being held hostage by her father, was posted on Instagram, the Associated Press has reported. According to the outlet, the image was posted by a woman identified in the media as former Royal Navy member Sioned Taylor. It shows the two women standing together in what appears to be Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport in Spain.
“Great European holiday with Latifa. We’re having fun exploring!”, reads the caption to the photo.
A lawyer for a group that has campaigned for the royal’s freedom, said the latest photo shows the princess enjoys an increasing degree of freedom and noted that she had directly contacted several members of the campaign’s team.
“We are pleased to see Latifa seemingly having a passport, travelling and enjoying an increasing degree of freedom, these are very positive steps forward”, said David Haigh, co-founder of the Free Latifa campaign.
My Life is Not in my Hands
In the middle of February, the BBC’s “Panorama” broadcast videos that Princess Latifa allegedly recorded over the past two years. In the videos, she said she was being held “hostage” at a villa surrounded by police.
“If you are watching this video, it’s not such a good thing, either I’m dead or I’m in a very, very, very bad situation. All the windows are barred shut. There’s five policemen outside and two policewomen inside the house. And I can’t even go outside to get any fresh air. I’m doing this video from a bathroom, because this is the only room with a door I can lock. I’m enslaved in this jail. My life is not in my hands”, Princess Latifa said.
She also revealed that she tried to escape Dubai in 2018 with the help of her capoeira instructor Tiina Jauhiainen to seek political asylum, but was captured by commandoes sent by her father, who reportedly drugged her and forcibly returned the royal to Dubai.
The videos sparked global outrage and prompted the United Nations to ask the UAE for “concrete proof” that Princess Latifa was safe and sound.
Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum said he acted in the best interests of his daughter and later the family released a statement via the UAE embassy in London, saying that the princess is being “cared for at home” and “supported” by her relatives and medical professionals. The statement also said the videos recorded by Latifa were “not reflective of the actual position”. The family additionally released a photograph showing Latifa sitting at a table with Mary Robinson, UN high commissioner for human rights in 2018.
Robinson, however, later said that she was “horribly tricked” during her visit to Dubai. The UN commissioner revealed she never asked Latifa about the purported abduction because her family said the royal was suffering from a mental condition.
The princess’ capoeira instructor too dismissed the statement released by the family, accusing them of imprisoning her.
Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum has faced accusations of abduction in the past. Last year, a High Court in the UK ruled that he was responsible for the abduction of his other daughter Shamsa, who escaped from the family’s estate in the English county of Surrey and was later captured and flown to Dubai on a private jet. The court also said that Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum waged a campaign of intimidation and fear against his estranged wife Princess Haya, who fled to the UK with her two children.
The Dubai ruler said the judgment “only tells one side of the story”.