“In response to media reports about Sheikha Latifa, we want to thank those who expressed concern for her safety, despite the coverage that certainly does not reflect the actual situation,” her family statement said, according to the United Arab Emirates. (United Arab Emirates) Embassy in London.
In classified recordings obtained by the BBC and shared with CNN, the daughter of the billionaire ruler of Dubai claims that she is being held hostage in a “villa that has been converted into a prison” without access to medical assistance.
The royal family’s statement does not live up to the demands of the United Nations and the United Kingdom that the UAE provide evidence of the sheikha’s life.
In the statement, her family said, “Her Highness receives care at home with the support of her family and medical professionals.”
“It continues to improve and we hope it will return to public life in time,” she added.
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum – the daughter of Emirati Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – was last seen in public in March 2018 on a yacht off the coast of India, before a raid by Indian and Emirati forces to return to her. Dubai, according to two people who helped plan the escape.
It was her second failed attempt to flee abroad after she had previously attempted to leave the UAE in 2002 when she was a teenager.
In one of the videos, Princess Latifa said: “I am a hostage. This villa has been converted into a prison. All windows are closed, and I cannot open any window… I was alone, solitary confinement. No medical help, no trial, no charge, nothing. “.
According to the BBC, Princess Latifa secretly recorded the videos by herself on a mobile phone while hiding in a closed bathroom. The documentary says that about a year after Latifa was returned to Dubai, her friend Tina Jauhiainen was contacted by someone who helped them reconnect in secret.
Jauhiainen managed to deliver a phone to Latifa and since then the princess has recorded several video messages “describing her captivity in a villa that has been turned into a prison with its windows closed,” according to a BBC press release.
“BBC Panorama independently verified details of Latifa’s whereabouts as a hostage. She was guarded by about 30 policemen, working on rotation, in and out of the villa. The site is only meters from the beach. It is not known if she said the press release.”
In another video shown in the documentary, Latifa says, “I’ve been here for more than a year in solitary confinement. I can’t get medical help, no trial, no charge, nothing … Every day I worry about it. My safety and the police are threatening me. I will never see the sun again. I am not safe here. “
Caroline Farag of CNN in Dubai, Mustafa Salem in Abu Dhabi, and Sarah Dean in London contributed to this report.