UAE has failed to show proof that Princess Latifa is alive, says UN. David Haigh continues relentlessly to secure the freedom of Princess Latifa Al Maktoum. However, we have recently been advised that the UN has had no positive updates.
In fact, we can report that Marta Hurtado, the UN spokesperson told a briefing in Geneva that the UAE had not responded to its request or clarified the conditions in which Latifa was apparently being held.
The UN says the United Arab Emirates has failed to provide compelling proof that Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum – the missing daughter of Dubai’s ruler, last seen in late 2018 – is still alive.
The UAE last month said Princess Latifa was being cared for at home by family and medical professionals.
The UN’s human rights office has repeatedly asked Dubai to provide “proof of life” for Latifa, a demand echoed by the UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, and other western governments.
“We haven’t got any proof of life, and we would like one, one that is clear compelling evidence that she is alive. Our first concern of course is to be sure of that, that she is still alive,” Hurtado said.
Senior UN officials had sought a meeting with the UAE ambassador in Geneva about Latifa, which in principle had been agreed, Hurtado said. She added that the UN also planned to raise the case of Latifa’s older sister Shamsa, who was kidnapped in 2000 from the streets of Cambridge.
Concerns over the fate of Latifa, 35, have grown after videos emerged in which she claimed her villa home had been “converted into a jail”.
Latifa claimed to have been imprisoned in the villa after an escape attempt in 2018 in which she crossed into neighbouring Oman and took a jetski to a yacht in international waters. With two friends she managed to reach the west coast of India before discovering she was being tracked by another vessel and had been spotted by the Indian coastguard.
After eight days at sea, the ship was raided by Indian commandos who handed her to UAE security forces in an operation authorised by her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, according to a 2020 fact-finding judgment by a UK court.
Latifa had not been seen since apart from in official photographs released by the UAE foreign ministry, in which she was pictured dining with the former Irish president Mary Robinson, who later told the BBC she was “horribly tricked” into publicly vouching for Latifa’s wellbeing.
“All the windows are barred shut,” the princess said in the latest footage. “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 a hostage. I am not free. I’m enslaved in this jail. My life is not in my hands.”
She has not been heard from in six months, according to her friends.
The UAE’s embassy in London said that “media coverage does not reflect the true situation” and she was being cared for at home supported by her family and medical professionals. “She continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time,” a statement last month said.
Sheikh Mohammed has said his daughter – the second of his children to try to escape – is in the loving care of her family.
His youngest wife, Princess Haya, also left Dubai fearing for her life after claiming she was subjected to a campaign of intimidation and harassment. A UK court judgment in 2020 found her claims were true on the balance of probabilities.