A human rights lawyer has told Euronews that the decision to raise the alarm about Princess Latifa’s plight has been justified by international backlash.
David Haigh posted videos in which Latifa, the daughter of one of the rulers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), claims that she is being held against her will.
His father is Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, the hereditary ruler of Dubai who also serves as Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates.
In footage filmed surreptitiously over the past year and broadcast by the BBC, the 35-year-old claims that she has been detained in a barricaded village since she tried to escape the country in 2018. Latifa says she has been denied medical help and is “concerned “. about my safety and my life. “
Haigh had been among friends Latifa had been secretly communicating with from the villa. They raised the alarm this week after losing contact with her six months ago.
“We felt it was the right time to do it and I think the reaction that you are seeing from world leaders, which is exactly what we wanted, shows that it was the right thing to do,” he said.
He added that the decision to publish the videos was preceded by “many, many sleepless nights.”
What has been the reaction to the videos?
Latifa’s lawyer, Rodney Dixon QC, has called on the United Nations and the international community “to intervene as quickly as possible to ensure his well-being.”
“The United Nations has direct access to the UAE authorities as one of the member states. They should seek to contact them immediately, have the necessary meetings to sort this out and resolve it, and make sure we know where the princess is, that she can be released and can travel.
“Governments can also make sure they support that action … Many of them have close relationships with the UAE authorities through trade and other reasons, and that they should use their influence to ensure that this situation is resolved as as quickly as possible, “he added.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said it would “raise these new developments with the UAE.”
A UN source also told Euronews that “there are a number of specialized independent mechanisms that would be looking at this.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday they were “concerned” about the situation and would seek guidance from the UN. However, Raab emphasized that there is little the country can do given that Latifa is not a UK citizen.
‘A lawless country with good PR firms’
Sheikh Mohammed has always denied the kidnapping and detention of his daughter, claiming that she is in the loving care of her family.
But a UK court ruled earlier this year in a case brought by his ex-wife, Princess Haya, that the Sheikh orchestrated the abduction of his daughter Shamsa in Cambridge in 2000 and the two abductions of Latifa in 2002 and 2018.
Haya fled the United Arab Emirates to the United Kingdom with the couple’s two children in 2018 and since then the couple have been involved in a custody battle.
Haigh said the kidnappings show that “it is human rights in general that are abused by the UAE institutions.”
“This is the leader of a country that abducts women at will with impunity and does it over and over again,” Haigh told Euronews.
“We cannot allow that to happen, there has to be a rule of law, we have to have standards for the countries with which we are doing business.
“This is a lawless country that has good public relations firms. That is the best way to describe it,” he continued.
Human rights activists have also reacted to the latest developments with Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, calling on horse racing institutions to boycott the sheikh.
Sheikh Mohammed is a major figure in international thoroughbred horse racing and breeding with his Godolphin horse racing operations spanning four continents. He is often seen attending the major races in the world, including Royal Ascot, where he was photographed several times with Queen Elizabeth.
“No matter how much money you pay to run your horses, no respectable person should touch the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, until he releases his daughter,” Roth wrote on Twitter.
“When you think of Dubai, don’t let the skyscrapers and the reputation of its playground obscure the fact that it is ruled by one man, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who has locked up his daughter, Princess Latifa, for wanting to escape his control, “he also wrote.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism