- US lawyer Lisa Bloom says she is determined to find out what happened to Princess Latifa Maktoum
- Latifa, daughter of Dubai’s billionaire ruler, fled the country last year claiming she’d been tortured, held in solitary confinement, threatened with death
- Nine days after escaping she was captured on a US registered yacht on off the coast of India and returned to Dubai
- Ms Bloom says her arrest in international waters was illegal and those behind it should be prosecuted in America
March 26 2019, Daily Mail Online
The capture of Dubai’s ‘runaway princess’ Latifa Maktoum from a boat off India’s coast was illegal, says a US lawyer
Top human rights lawyer Lisa Bloom today claimed the capture of ‘runaway princess’ Latifa Maktoum was illegal and her case should be heard in a US court.
The daughter of Dubai’s billionaire ruler was allegedly detained after fleeing from the country last year and seized by armed forces off the coast of India.
Ms Bloom, a leading US lawyer, believes her apprehention from a US registered yacht in international waters was a criminal act and those responsible should be tried in America.
Speaking to MailOnline, the lawyer said she is determined to find out what has happened to the princess.
‘This is a huge civil rights case and involves a woman who is being held against her will by a powerful man.
‘What makes this more troublesome is that her human rights are being trampled in plain sight. I want to do all I can to help secure the release of Princess Latifa so she has the right to live her life as she wants.’
She went on: ‘The Princess was on a US registered yacht, flying a US flag and operated by a dual US citizen. Those on the yacht heard Latifa cry out that she was seeking political asylum before she was captured. That is a clear crime as this happened in international waters.
‘One of the legal actions we have is to bring this to a US court and see if they have jurisdiction.’
Ms Bloom’s involvement raises the stakes in the fight by Latifa’s friends and human rights groups to discover if she is being held against her will in the Arab kingdom.
It comes as new photos showing Latifa from 2017, have been released by her friends to mark the first anniversary of her failed escape bid.
The Princess was seized by commandos allegedly acting on the orders of her father as she attempted to flee the United Arab Emirates to start a new life.
She was forcibly removed from a yacht and taken back to Dubai where she has only been seen once in a stage managed meeting with Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Human rights groups insist Latifa is being held against her will and fear she has been drugged to stop her from speaking out or attempting to leave.
The Princess recorded a video explaining why she was fleeing from under the iron grip of her father Sheikh Rashid Maktoum in the event that she did not escape.
During the 40-minute video she claimed she had been tortured, held in solitary confinement, threatened with death and drugged during previous escape attempts.
After successfully leaving Dubai on a US registered yacht Nostromo she was captured off the coast of India and taken back to Dubai.
Latifa enlisted the help of former French spy Herve Jaubert to help in the escape, but he is no longer working with the campaign to free her.
Despite pressure from the United Nations and Human Rights Groups the ruler of Dubai refused to talk about her escape.
After nine months of silence, in December a photo of Latifa with Mrs Robinson was released with the former Irish Prime Minister saying the Princess was a troubled young woman.
The photo opportunity was attacked by Latifa’s friends and the NGO Detained International who have been campaigning to secure her release.
They said it was staged managed with the Princess not allowed to speak.
Los Angeles based lawyer Bloom has joined the Detained International in seeking answers to Latifa’s abduction from the US yacht.
Bloom, a familiar figure on US TV as a commentator on civil and human rights issues, said she was appalled that so many people still visit Dubai and has called for tourists to boycott the country.
‘They have serious human rights issues and I would like to see a boycott, she said.
‘Sheikh Maktoum should be shunned by other world leaders until we find out what has happened to his daughter.
‘| want to do whatever I can to help the Princess. She was hoping to come to America where it is certain she would have been given asylum.’
David Haigh, from the Detained International, said he was pleased such a high profile lawyer had joined the fight to secure Latifa’s release.
He said: ‘ We are delighted that Lisa and The Bloom Firm has agreed to take on the fight for Latifa. She was our first choice lawyer almost a year ago when we focused on the US.’