Britain demands proof from UAE showing Dubai princess is alive

LONDON: Britain said it wants to see proof that Sheikha Latifa, one of the daughters of the ruler of Dubai, is still alive after a “deeply troubling” video was aired in which she said she was being held against her will in a barricaded villa.

“Given what we’ve just seen, I think people would just at a human level want to see that she’s alive and well,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told local media when asked whether he would support seeing some kind of proof from the UAE that Sheikha Latifa was alive.

Raab said Britain is concerned about the footage and the United Nations will be following up on the video. “It’s deeply troubling and you can see a young woman under deep distress,” he said.

In the video, published by the BBC, Latifa, aged 35, said: “I am a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail.” She said she was making the video in the bathroom of the villa, the only room she could lock herself into, adding: “All the windows are barred shut, I can’t open any window.”

Sheikha Latifa binte Mohammed al-Maktoum drew international attention in 2018 when a human rights group released a video made by her in which she described an attempt to escape Dubai.

READ MORE: Secret video of Dubai princess reveals details of her ‘hostage’ situation

Last March, a London High Court judge said he accepted as proved a series of allegations made by Sheikh Mohammed’s former wife, Princess Haya, in a legal battle, including that the sheikh ordered the abduction of Latifa. The sheikh’s lawyers rejected the allegations.

When asked if Britain would impose sanctions on the UAE after the video, Raab said: “It’s not clear to me that there would be the evidence to support that.”

He further said that the UK does not shirk its responsibilities in sensitive cases such as this. “It’s not as simple as saying well we could apply sanctions. There is a very strict legal threshold,” the foreign secretary said. “When there’s a human rights issue or a very sensitive case we do not shirk our responsibilities.”

Latifa’s father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, is vice president and prime minister of the UAE. The un-dated videos were broadcast as Latifa’s friends voiced concern that secret messages from her have stopped coming. The videos came from Latifa’s Finnish friend, Tiina Jauhiainen, who accompanied her during her escape attempt.

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