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The power struggle surrounding the UAE’s latest runaway princess

Legal battle lines have been drawn up for a court case in London at the end of this month in which unprecedented revelations are expected to be made about one of the most powerful monarchies in the Middle East. The case, involving the ruler of Dubai and his sixth wife, comes with some extraordinary chapters of intrigue, claims of violence, and accusations of abuse – all of which have received widespread international publicity.

Last year, Haya Bint al-Hussein, married to Sheikh Mohammed Rashid al-Maktoum, and her friend Mary Robinson, formerly president of Ireland and the UN high commissioner for human rights, appeared together in photographs that led to immediate controversy and criticism. They were pictured alongside Latifa, a stepdaughter of Princess Haya who disappeared from the United Arab Emirates in February 2018 but was then arrested on a yacht, the Nostromo, by the Indian coastguard, and returned to Dubai.

Princess Latifa was seized along with Herve Jaubert, a French intelligence officer and a Finnish friend, Tiina Jauhiainen, who had helped plan her escape for months. Five other Navy vessels – three Indian and two Emirati – were reported to have been involved in the operation. The governments of both countries provided little information as to what had taken place.

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