- Free Latifa/YouTube
- Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, daughter of Dubai’s ruler, reportedly spent seven years planning to escape from her father.
- She hasn’t been seen since March 4, when commandos seized her from her escape craft off the Indian coast, a new documentary said.
- The documentary interviewed a French ex-spy, a martial arts teacher, and the Filipino crew who tried to break her out.
- Shortly after she disappeared, a video of Latifa was posted on YouTube that was to be published only if her escape had gone wrong.
- She said: “It could be the last video I make. … If you are watching this video, it’s not such a good thing. Either I’m dead, or I’m in a very, very, very bad situation.”
The daughter of Dubai’s ruler reportedly spent seven years planning to flee from the United Arab Emirates, but was captured after her escape and has since vanished.
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler and the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, made a video that was to be released only if her escape attempt went wrong.
The documentary said she escaped from Dubai in February. It described how she changed clothes and fled by car across the border to Oman, aided by a martial-arts teacher, Tiina Jauhiainen.
The documentary said she and Jauhiainen battled waves in a small inflatable boat and a Jet Ski to reach an escape boat flying a US flag in international waters to deter attackers.
The boat got Latifa about 30 miles from the Indian coast before it was stormed by Indian commandos, according to witnesses speaking in the film, seen by the Guardian.
The BBC documentary team said they assume she was returned to Dubai, but no one has seen or heard from her since, despite pressure from Human Rights Watch.
According to the Guardian, the documentary also described her life of “caged luxury” under her oppressive father’s regime and the brutal treatment her sister received for trying to escape in 2000.
It documented how Latifa escaped once in 2002 and was captured, tortured, and imprisoned for three years before taking seven years to plan her escape in February. She said she was in prison from June 2002 to October 2005.
The YouTube video shows Latifa, 32, saying to the camera: It could be the last video I make. … If you are watching this video, it’s not such a good thing. Either I’m dead, or I’m in a very, very, very bad situation.”
The BBC said the documentary “asks if the image of Dubai we are sold – of winter sunshine and luxury hotels – is actually hiding a brutal dictatorship of human rights abuses, where surveillance, imprisonment and torture are systematic and where tourists can easily be imprisoned for the slightest infringements of the state’s ultra conservative laws.”
“Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of the Missing Princess” will air on Thursday at 9 p.m. GMT on BBC2.