Boris Johnson has said he is concerned about the case of a missing Emirati princess whose secret video messages of what she describes as a villa-turned-prison have led to calls for international intervention and evidence that she is still alive.
The British prime minister said on Wednesday that he was “concerned” about the situation of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid, but said she was being investigated by the UN human rights commissioner. “I think what we will do is wait and see how they do. We’ll be watching that, ”Johnson said.
Earlier, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Latifa’s new videos in which she claimed her father was holding her against her will were “very disturbing”.
Latifa, who has twice tried to escape from Dubai but was forcibly returned, managed to record a series of secret messages using a smuggled phone from inside a villa that she said had “been turned into a prison”. The new footage was broadcast on BBC Panorama on Tuesday night.
During his most recent escape attempt in January 2018, he used a rubber boat to reach a yacht anchored in international waters. Eight days later, off the coast of India, the ship was raided by Indian commandos and returned to its father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. India has never commented on its role in the matter.
“I have been here since then, for more than a year in solitary confinement. No access to medical help, no trial, no charges, nothing, “Latifa said in one of the messages to her friends, who recorded in the bathroom, the only room she said she could close. “Every day I worry about my safety and the police threaten me that I will never see the sun again. I’m not sure here. “
She said in another video: “The door to my room, I put it, because I cannot close the door to my room, there is no key, I put a bottle and some boxes under it, so if someone opens the handle it will make a loud sound And it will be like an alarm, so I stop talking. So yeah, this is my situation now. “
The posts abruptly ceased last year, prompting her friends to seek media attention. When asked on Sky News if he would require proof from Dubai that Latifa was still alive, Raab said: “Given what we just saw, I think people only on a human level would want to see that she is alive and well.”
He told the BBC that the UK and the UN would follow up on the video, the details of which The Guardian could not independently confirm. The Dubai government media office has been contacted for comment.
A UK family court accepted last year that her father had returned Latifa twice and has done the same for another daughter, Shamsa, when she fled the family property in Sussex in 2000. The court also found that she had organized an intimidation campaign against his younger wife. , Sheikha Haya, who also escaped from Dubai with her two children. Sheikh Mohammed said at the time that the trial told only one side of the story.
When asked if the UK would impose sanctions on Dubai after the video, Raab said: “It is not clear to me that there is evidence to back it up.”
In a separate interview with BBCon on Wednesday, he said: “Any criminal matter is legitimate for the police and they should investigate it without fear or favor.”
Before the videos, Latifa’s last public appearance was in a series of photographs released by the Dubai government in which former Irish President Mary Robinson appeared to attest to the princess’s well-being. Robinson told Panorama that she had been misled.
“I was tricked, initially by my good friend Princess Haya, because she was tricked,” Robinson said. “Haya began to explain that Latifa had a pretty serious bipolar problem. And they told me, in a very convincing way: ‘We don’t want Latifa to suffer any more trauma.’
She added: “I didn’t know how to talk to someone who was bipolar about their trauma. And I really didn’t want to talk to her and add to the trauma with a good lunch. ”
Tiina Jauhiainen, a close friend of Latifa, told Panorama that the princess was fighting. “She is so pale that she has not seen the sunlight in months. You can basically move from your room to the kitchen and vice versa, ”said Jauhiainen.
The new footage puts pressure on the UK to take action against an important member of a government whom it regards as a close commercial and military partner. Sheikh Mohammed has significant racing interests in Britain and is often represented with the Queen.
The British Horse Racing Authority, which runs the industry in the UK, declined to comment on the latest news on Sheikh Mohammed.
Additional reporting by Chris Cook
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism