Campaign to free Princess Latifa says it has more unreleased videos from detained Dubai royal

The Free Latifa campaign said it would consider releasing more footage to pressure the UAE government

Campbell MacDiarmid
February 18, 2021, The Telegraph

The campaign to free Princess Latifa said on Thursday that they have more videos from the detained Dubai royal that they may publish to further pressure the United Arab Emirates to free her. 

“We haven’t released everything that we have, some of it is even more detailed information,” said Tiina Jauhiainen, a Finnish fitness instructor who is leading a campaign to free Princess Latifa, who she describes as her best friend.

Earlier this week, the daughter of Dubai’s billionaire ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said in newly released videos that she was being “held hostage” in a guarded “villa jail” since being forcibly returned to the UAE following a daring escape attempt with Ms Jauhiainen in 2018.  

The videos, first published by the BBC, prompted the United Nations human rights body to raise the issue with the UAE, while both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab expressed their concern. 

“Finally we are getting somewhere I feel, because they’re starting to speak publicly about it,” Ms Jauhiainen said of their remarks.

Ms Jauhiainen did not detail the contents of the unpublished videos in her possession, which like the recently released footage was recorded by the princess in the bathroom of her guarded villa on a phone smuggled to her. The recordings were made over several months until last summer, when her friends fear the phone was discovered. Nothing has been heard from the princess since then. 

The campaign to free Latifa is now watching for developments in the case before deciding whether to release further footage, Ms Jauhiainen told The Telegraph in a phone call.

“We don’t know what sort of impact this is happening and whether the UN will actually do something,” said Ms Jauhiainen, who says she became Princess Latifa’s confidant after being hired to give her lessons in the Brazilian dance martial art capoeira.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which said on Wednesday it would raise “new developments” with Princess Latifa’s case with the UAE, does not have the power to compel action from the Gulf sheikhdom.  

A previous enquiry from a UN working group in 2018 received assurances from the UAE that Princess Latifa was “safe and in the loving care of her family”.