'Don't know if I'll survive': Princess reveals she's a 'hostage' in chilling video

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·3-min read

A chilling video has emerged of a princess claiming to be held hostage in a barricaded villa.

BBC's investigative news program Panorama obtained the video of Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum saying the villa had been converted into a jail.

"I'm a hostage," the 35-year-old daughter of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said.

"All the windows are barred shut, I can't open any window.

"I'm by myself in solitary confinement, no access to medical help."

A glamorous photo of Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa
Sheikha Latifa was caught after she made a daring escape from Dubai in 2018. Source: Facebook/Free Latifa

She claimed she had made the video in the bathroom as it was the only room she could lock herself into.

The princess added every day she worried about her safety and her life and did not know when she would be released.

"I don't really know if I'm going to survive this situation," she said.

"The police threatened me that I'll be in prison my whole life and never see the sun again.

"I don't want to be a hostage in this jail villa, I just want to be free. I don't know what they're planning to do with me."

According to the BBC, the video was filmed in 2019 after a phone had been smuggled to her.

Friends of the princess are however releasing the video amid fears for her wellbeing after they stopped hearing from her.

Dubai ruler 'ordered daughter's abduction'

The princess drew international attention in 2018 when she tried to flee the country only to be detained by commandos in a boat off India.

Sheikh Mohammed's family life became a public matter in 2020. Then, a British judge ruled the sheikh had conducted a campaign of fear and intimidation against his estranged wife and ordered the abduction of two of his daughters, one of them Sheikha Latifa.

The ruling came in a custody battle between Sheikh Mohammed and estranged wife Princess Haya, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan.

Sheikha Latifa locks herself in a bathroom in a barricaded villa.
Sheikha Latifa says she is being held hostage in a barricaded villa. Source: BBC

The sheikh's lawyers rejected the allegations.

The Free Latifa campaign, which has lobbied for her release, said it had managed to smuggle a phone to Latifa.

David Haigh, one of the campaign's co-founders and her lawyer, called for Latifa's immediate release and an end to "a horrendous period of parental and human rights abuse that has significantly damaged the reputation of the UAE".

The Dubai government's media office referred questions about the video to Sheikh Mohammed's law firm, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum attends the 40th Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was accused of ordering his daughter's abduction. Source: aAP

David Pannick, a lawyer in London representing Sheikh Mohammed in the legal battle with Princess Haya, said he could not comment as he was involved in current legal proceedings.

In December 2018, the UAE foreign ministry said Latifa was at home and living with her family, after rights groups called on authorities in the Gulf Arab state to disclose her whereabouts and condition.

with Reuters and AP

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