U.N. seeks ‘proof of life’ of Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa

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Feb. 19 (UPI) — The United Nations on Friday asked for proof that the daughter of the Dubai ruler is alive and safe, less than a week after she posted video messages saying she was being held hostage by her family.

A spokeswoman for U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said her office reached out to the family seeking “proof of life” of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum.

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“We raised our concerns about the situation in light of the disturbing video evidence that emerged this week,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell told reporters during a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland. “We requested more information and clarification about Sheika Latifa’s current situation.”

The UAE Embassy in London released a statement Friday saying that Sheikha Latifa was under the care of her family and medical professionals at her home.

“In response to media reports regarding Sheikha Latifa, we want to thank those who have expressed concern for her wellbeing, despite the coverage which certainly is not reflective of the actual position,” the family statement said.

“She continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time.”

Sheikha Latifa is the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates.

On Tuesday, the BBC released videos taken by Sheikha Latifa who said she was imprisoned after attempting to flee the country.

“I’m a hostage. This villa has been converted into jail. All the windows are barred shut, I can’t open any window … I’ve been by myself, solitary confinement. No access to medical help, no trial, no charge, nothing,” she said.

Latifa’s friend, Tiina Jauhiainen, told the BBC that she helped sneak Latifa the phone that the videos were recorded on but the messages have recently stopped and she is deeply concerned for her friend.

“She is so pale, she hasn’t seen sunlight for months. She can basically move just from her room to the kitchen and back,” she said.

Latifa, 35, traveled to international waters to board a boat owned by French businessman Herve Jaubert in February 2018, before the boat was boarded by commandos off the coast of India and she was returned to Dubai.

The videos were recorded over a series of several months about a year after she was returned to Dubai, the BBC reported.

In the videos, Latifa said she fought back against the soldiers who attempted to take her off of the boat and was ultimately tranquilized and placed onto a private jet where she did not awaken until landing in Dubai.

Daniel Uria contributed to this report.