The United Nations is being urged to take “decisive action” to protect “imprisoned” Princess Latifa of Dubai who lawyers believe is in “grave danger” at the hands of her billionaire father.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum “ordered and orchestrated” the kidnapping of his daughter two years ago after she fled the country he rules, according to a judgement by the UK High Court in March.
Yet despite worldwide publicity and her plight being featured in an award-winning BBC documentary – Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of a Missing Princess – she is still being held against her will in her homeland.
She has not been seen in public since the luxury yacht she was staying on with a friend was stormed by commandos in the Indian Ocean in March 2018.
In a 40 minute video, Latifa revealed she had previously tried to leave the Emirates aged 16 but was captured at the border, jailed for three years, beaten and tortured.
The UAE insists that Latifa is alive, safe and living with her family in Dubai.
Now the princess’s legal team is calling on the UN Working group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) to get the UN to order Dubai to provide exact details of Latifa’s whereabouts.
In a submission to the WGEID, leading human rights QC Rodney Dixon declared: “We are anxious to ensure that the UN takes all possible steps now to secure the safety, health and release of [Princess Latifa].”
And he urged the UN to “take decisive action in respect of this case which has gone on for a considerable period of time while Princess Latifa remains in grave danger”.
Latifa’s UK-based legal team also filed a 76-page submission to the
WGEID earlier in the year which called for the immediate release of the royal.
That submission set out the ruling by Sir Andrew McFarlane at the High Court in the custody battle between Princess Haya of Jordan and Latifa’s father.
That ruling included the findings that Latifa, 34, was kidnapped in 2018 and her father was not “open or honest” when trying to assure the world that Latifa was safe in his care.
It also found the sheikh waged a campaign of “fear and intimidation” against his sixth wife Princess Haya, who recently fled to Britain fearing he would kill her.
Rodney Dixon QC said: “It is most concerning that despite the High Court judgement finding that Princess Latifa had been kidnapped, and worldwide calls for the urgent release of Latifa, she remains in captivity.”
“Her fundamental human rights are being unjustifiably restricted and abused. The international community can no longer stand by.”
“We are petitioning the UN Working Groups on Enforced and Involuntary
Disappearances and on Arbitrary Detention and other bodies to get access to her without delay and to ensure that she is released unharmed.”
“It is vital more than ever now that the UN should take all necessary action to secure Latifa’s immediate release having been unlawfully held in the UAE for over two years.”
Lawyer David Haigh, of the #FreeLatifa campaign, added: “The wagons are now circling around the embattled regime in Dubai.”
In the months since the London judgement, numerous people have indicated they will distance themselves from the toxic Al-Maktoum dynasty, including the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II.
“It’s now time for the UN to add its considerable weight to the fight against the human rights abuses being perpetrated by the UAE regime.”
Tiina Jauhiainen, the Finnish best friend of Latifa, who was kidnapped alongside her, said the new submission was the result of two years of dedicated hard work that began while she was still detained in the UAE.