Daughter of the UAE's Prime Minister 'is being cared for at home,' family insists

Saturday, February 20
Ciarán Mather

The family of Princess Latifa Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has said that she is safe and is currently 'being cared for at home' following concerns about her wellbeing.

It comes after the organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for proof that the 35-year-old is alive after a video obtained by BBC's Panorama seemingly showed her in a state of distress.

Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, also said that the prolonged nature of the Princess' alleged situation 'would amount to torture', and similarly called for attention to be brought to her alleged plight.

In the video, which is said to have been taken on a smuggled phone, Princess Latifa alleges that her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had held her captive since her initial escape in 2018.

She said: 'I'm a hostage, and this villa has been converted into a jail.'

'All the windows are barred shut; I can't open any window... I can't even go outside to get any fresh air.'

She further called her father 'pure evil' and said that she blamed him for the various deaths of his own people.

Since then, a statement from the UAE's royal family has been released through its embassy in London dismissing her allegations.

The statement said: 'In response to media reports regarding Sheikha Latifa, we want to thank those who have expressed concern for her wellbeing, despite the coverage which certainly is not reflective of the actual position.'

'Her family has confirmed that Her Highness is being cared for at home, supported by her family and medical professionals.'

It added: 'she continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time.'

Former Irish President and human rights activist Mary Robinson also appeared in the Panorama documentary, where she spoke about the controversial photos of her sitting alongside former Princess Latifa released in 2018.

The photos were accompanied with a statement that Latifa was in the 'loving care' of her family, by the UAE’s Foreign Ministry: just nine months after Latifa’s abduction.

Mrs. Robinson explained that she was apparently 'tricked' by the UAE about Latifa's wellbeing, and was told that the Princess had been suffering from Bipolar disorder.

She elaborated: 'I’m not very familiar with people who have bipolar disorder, and I didn’t want to increase the trauma.'

Mary Robinson has since said that she is 'extremely concerned' about Princess Latifa's wellbeing.

Sheikha Latifa is one of 30 children born to six wives of Sheikh Al Maktoum, who is also the vice president of the UAE.