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Family Statement on Dubai Princess Latifa Al Maktoum

Marcus Essabri, the cousin of the Dubai Princess Latifa Al Maktoum who is being held against her will by her father Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, has released a heartfelt personal Ramadan video message to Latifa.

In a press statement issued together with his personal video message, Mr Essabri sets out his fears for the safety of his cousins Princess Latifa and Princess Shamsa as COVID 19 spreads across Dubai and thanks to those around the world that continue to fight for their freedom.

Marcus Essabri said, “Most of us around the world are locked down in our homes today due to the deadly coronavirus. We are separated from our loved ones, in some cases for the first time. We cannot be with friends and family – we can perhaps see them on smartphones or computer screens, but we cannot hug them.

But even before the coronavirus disrupted our lives so dramatically, I was separated from my brave cousins, Shamsa and Latifa. And it is now, as we enter the holy month of Ramadan, that my cousins are most in my thoughts and prayers. Latifa, an amazing 34-year-old woman, is presently detained against her will in Dubai by her father, Sheikh Mohammed, and her mother, my aunt, Houria Lamara. Shamsa is, I fear, similarly suffering and detained.

While the world is comforted by the thought that, one day, we will overcome Covid-19 and we can then be with our loved ones again, I don’t know if I will ever be with my precious Latifa. I can only hope and pray – and ask you to join me in my prayers. Latifa is an amazing woman – full of a zest for life that is both captivating and contagious for anyone lucky enough to be around her.

With the coronavirus sweeping the world and not sparing those in Dubai, I worry even more for Latifa’s safety. As Ramadan begins this week, I felt I needed to do something to show Latifa how many people in the world are praying for her safety and her freedom, so I decided to record a short Ramadan message for her in the hope that somehow, somewhere, she may see it.

I also wanted to wish ‘Ramadan Kareem’ to all those who have supported my cousin, and to thank them with all my heart for the love, kindness and help they have given. I pray to God Almighty to make it a month of goodness, blessings and mercy for all.”

Marcus Essabri, cousin of Princess Latifa Al Maktoum personal video message to Latifa April 2020.

David Haigh, co-founder of the Free Latifa Campaign said. “The Free Latifa campaign is honoured to have the continuing support of several members of Latifa’s family, including her cousin Marcus Essabri and his family. We saw earlier in the year a very courageous and unprecedented step by Sheikha Randa Al Banna, one of Latifa’s stepmothers, who come out publicly in support of Latifa in an article in the Sunday Times. In March this year, the world learned of the support for Latifa from her stepmother Princess Haya bint Hussein of Jordan, when High Court judgments in the custody case between Latifa’s father and Princess Haya were published.

We know, as set out in the High Court judgments of the Rt Hon. Sir Andrew Macfarlane in the case of Princess Haya, that Latifa is in grave danger at the hands of her father the Dubai ruler, and her mother, Houria Lamara. Such danger is now only ever more as COVID 19 ravages Dubai, as it does the rest of the world and we at the FreeLatifa campaign implore Latifa’s parents, this Ramadan, to have it in their hearts to release Latifa”

Notes to editors

About Free Latifa: Princess Latifa stands for every person, especially every woman, who is held against their will when they have done nothing wrong. The Free Latifa Campaign is run by Latifa’s family, closest friends, supporters and advisers. It is headed by Latifa’s best friend Tiina Jauhiainen as Campaign Director, a human rights lawyer and campaigner David Haigh, Latifa’s cousin Marcus Essabri, and Latifa’s close friends Stephania Martinengo and Marco Remes. The campaign also benefits from the support of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Detained International and a growing number of Latifa’s family, supporters, media, lawyers, politicians and celebrities around the world. “The campaign’s main goal is to #FreeLatifa, but it is also about the wider theme of justice and human rights in the Gulf, and it is run in a spirit of positivity and respect for all individuals Updates on the campaign can be found on www.freelatifa.com

Press Contact         

Tiina Jauhiainen and David Haigh

Campaign to Free Latifa

Email: latifa@freelatifa.com

Telephone: + 44 (0) 203 900 1188

Twitter: @freelatifa

Facebook: @freelatifa

Instagram: @freelatifa

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