Dubai ruler's daughter Princess Latifa has accused her father of drugging and imprisoning her - here's what she said

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 9:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 9:09 am
Princess Latifa recorded secret messages detailing her escape attempt (BBC)

Princess Latifa Al Maktoum of Dubai has accused her father of holding her “hostage” in video clips shown to the BBC.

The daughter of Dubai’s leader Sheikh Mohammed claims that commandos drugged her when she attempted to flee the emirate in 2018.

She sent friends secret messages to friends complaining of her imprisonment. These messages have since stopped according to the BBC, and friends are calling for the United Nations to intervene.

Former UN envoy Mary Robinson has called for Latifa’s situation to be investigation, stating that she is “very worried” about her condition.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s, who owns 63,000 acres of land in the Scottish highlands

What did Princess Latifa say in the messages? 

The secret messages were recorded over several months according to a BBC Panorama investigation.

In the recordings she details her escape attempt in 2018, telling how she was taken from her boat “kicking and screaming”, biting a commando’s arm.

She claims that she was then tranquilised, losing consciousness and not waking up until she returned to Dubai.

Princess Latifa said that she was being held in a villa which was barred shut.

She said: "I'm a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail.

"All the windows are barred shut, I can't open any window.

"There's five policemen outside and two policewomen inside the house.

"And I can't even go outside to get any fresh air."

What happened during her previous escape attempt? 

Princess Latifa first tried to escape Dubai when she was 16.

Now 35, Latifa’s most recent escape attempt was in 2018 and was the subject of a previous Panorama documentary.

With the help of French businessman Herve Jaubert and friend and martial arts instructor Tiina Jauhiainen.

On 24 February 2018 Latifa and Jauhiainen took an inflatable boat to international waters where they were met by Jaubert on a US flagged yacht.

This yacht was intercepted by commandos off the coast of India 8 days later where armed persons who used smoke grenades and held Latifa and Jauhiainen at gunpoint.

Latifa was returned to Dubai. The messages released on February 16 are the first that she’s been heard of since the escape attempt.

Who is Princess Latifa and why did she try to escape? 

Princess Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum is the 35-year-old daughter of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

Her mother is Houria Ahmed Lamara from Algeria.

She first tried to escape the United Arab Emirates when she was 16, attempting to cross the UAE and Oman border.

Prior to her escape attempt in 2018, Latifa accused her father of maltreatment of her and her sister Shamsa, along with other serious charges.

When is the documentary on her imprisonment out? 

Viewers can catch up with the documentary on BBC iPlayer.