Images of ‘missing’ Dubai princess released

Images of ‘missing’ Dubai princess released

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Sheikha Latifa is photographed alongside Mary Robinson being served at a table Image copyright United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry
Image caption Sheikha Latifa photographed alongside Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Photographs have been released of an Arab princess who was feared missing.

Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of Dubai’s ruler, reportedly tried to escape abroad in March. Witnesses said she was allegedly taken from a yacht near India and forcibly returned.

The United Arab Emirates has denied the reports, and says she has been living at home with her family.

The incident caused concern among international human rights groups, who asked authorities to prove her safety.

On Monday, the UAE’s foreign ministry said it had sent a communiqué regarding Sheikha Latifa to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Office of Special Procedures.

In a statement, it said the message “responds to and rebuts false allegations” about the princess.

The images it released show Sheikha Latifa alongside Mary Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Ireland, and were purportedly taken on 15 December in Dubai.

“Photographs taken during the afternoon they spent together have been shared, with their consent,” the UAE’s statement said.

“During her visit to Dubai, Mary Robinson was reassured that HH Sheikha Latifa is receiving the necessary care and support she requires.”

  • United Arab Emirates profile
  • Call for clarity on status of Sheikha Latifa

The United Nations has not yet responded to the statement.

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Media captionWhat happened to Dubai’s Sheikha Latifa?

Sheikha Latifa – the daughter of Dubai’s ruler – is said to have tried to flee in an attempt to live a freer life abroad.

The 33-year-old was reportedly helped in her attempt to escape by Herve Jaubert, a former French spy.

His yacht she was travelling on, the Nostromo, was then reportedly intercepted less than 80 km (50 miles) from the Indian coast.

Mr Jaubert alleges the princess was then then taken onto a helicopter and forcibly returned, despite professing her will to seek asylum abroad.

After she allegedly went missing, a video was released showing her discussing a planned effort to escape.

“If you’re watching this video, it’s not such a good thing. Either I’m dead or I’m in a very very very bad situation,” she said near the beginning of the 40-minute clip.

In the video, she alleges she and her family “did not have freedom of choice” in their lives, and discussed an earlier effort to leave the country aged 16.

She alleges she was imprisoned for three years and tortured repeatedly on her return.

Earlier this month, the UAE’s government released its first statement about her apparent disappearance in which it said it was “deeply saddened by the continued media speculation” about Sheikha Latifa.

In it, they said she was “adored and cherished” by her family, who were looking forward to celebrating her birthday with her.

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