UAE says Princess Latifa ′home′ after UN expresses concern | News | DW | 20.02.2021

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UAE says Princess Latifa 'home' after UN expresses concern

The princess has not been seen in public since 2018, when she attempted to escape from the country. The United Nations demanded proof that she was still alive following "disturbing" footage aired this week.

Princess Latifa in a video released by Detained in Dubai

Princess Latifa has not been seen in public in nearly three years

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said Friday that Princess Latifa, one of the daughters of the ruler of Dubai, was being cared for at home as the UN asked the country for proof that she was alive.

British broadcaster BBC published a video on its investigative program Panorama on Tuesday that showed Latifa saying she was being held against her will in a villa and feared for her life.

"I am a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail," said Latifa in the video.

"Her family has confirmed that Her Highness is being cared for at home, supported by her family and medical professionals," said the UAE embassy in London in a statement.

"She continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time," it added.

The embassy did not provide any images or videos that confirmed her wellbeing. The UAE embassy in London called media coverage of the situation "not reflective of the actual position" for Latifa.

UN getting involved

The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said they asked for evidence after the BBC broadcast the footage. OHCHR spokeswoman Liz Throssell said they were concerned with the UAE "in light of the disturbing video evidence."

"We requested more information and clarification about Sheikha Latifa's current situation," said Throssell.

"Given the serious concerns about Sheikha Latifa, we have requested that the government's response comes as a matter of priority," Throssell added before concluding, "we will continue to monitor and assess the situation closely."

Princess Latifa and Mary Robinson

The UAE government said Princess Latifa (l) met with former UN human rights chief Mary Robinson (r) in December 2018

Not seen in years

Princess Latifa has not been seen in public since March 2018, when she attempted to flee the UAE by boat. Her escape was intercepted by commandos off the coast of India, according to the UK-based group Detained in Dubai.

She said she was held in the Al-Awir central prison in Dubai until May 2018, before being moved to a villa. The head of the royal court showed pictures of Latifa with former Irish president and former UN rights chief Mary Robinson in December 2018, in response to the UN demanding to know Latifa's whereabouts.

"She was and never has been arrested or detained," wrote Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaibani, head of the royal court.

The BBC said the clips that it broadcast on Tuesday were filmed roughly one year after Latifa was captured and taken back to the UAE. The clips that the broadcaster put on air showed her crouched in a corner of what she said was a bathroom.

kbd/sri (AFP, Reuters)

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