‘I am truly afraid for her’: Princess Latifa’s best friend urges the world to act and calls for tourists to boycott Dubai over royal ‘held hostage’ by her own family
- Princess Latifa released videos this week suggesting she is being held hostage
- The UAE embassy in London said in a statement she is being cared for at home
- Friend Tiina Jauhiainen dismissed the claims and says the princess needs help
The best friend of Princess Latifa has dismissed claims from Dubai’s ruling family saying she is being cared for at home, and accused them of imprisoning her at home.
This week the princess, the daughter of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Al Maktoum, released videos suggesting she was being kept prisoner by her father following attempts to flee the United Arab Emirates.
Yesterday the UN ordered proof of life and the UAE later released a statement saying she is being cared for at home.
And now her friend Tiina Jauhiainen claims she was with the princess during the escape bid and says her friend is now being imprisoned.
Tiina Jauhiainen (right) dismissed claims from Dubai’s royal family suggesting her friend is being cared for, accusing them of keeping her prisoner
She told the Telegraph: ‘My best friend Princess Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum had been imprisoned by her own family – confined to one room.
‘It’s ridiculous that her family think they can put out this kind of statement and provide no actual proof of life. I’m shocked and upset that this is their official response.
‘I would also like to see tourists boycott Dubai. It’s easy to live in a bubble there. But no one with a conscience can overlook the reality now: the injustice, the human rights abuses and the exploitation. Latifa is among those who have suffered greatly. But the last time I heard from her, I knew that even after all this, they still hadn’t broken her spirit.’
The video, taken in an unknown location, showed the princess talking into a mobile phone camera
In the video released this week, Latifa was recorded saying she has been locked in a villa without access to sunlight or fresh air while under constant police guard.
Liz Throssell, spokeswoman for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, told an online briefing in Geneva: ‘We raised our concerns about the situation in light of the disturbing video evidence that emerged this week.
‘We requested more information and clarification about Sheikha Latifa’s current situation.
‘Given the serious concerns about Sheikha Latifa, we have requested that the government’s response comes as a matter of priority.
‘We did ask for proof of life.’
Latifa has endured a difficult relationship with her father over the years that has resulted in her trying to escape his kingdom twice, once in 2002 and again in 2018.
She said she tried to escape what she called his ‘repressive control’, claiming she had been drugged and tortured on the orders of her father.
The sheikh has denied all abuse claims made by his daughter, who is one of 30 children he has with six wives.
In 2018 she fled the country by jet ski but was captured eight days later by Indian commandos off the coast of Goa and returned to her father’s custody, where she claimed, in the newly released footage, that she has been held captive ever since.
The move comes after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he was ‘concerned’ about Princess Sheikha Latifi while Dominic Raab also demanded the UAE proves she is still alive.