The daughter of the emir of Dubai, held at home against her will for years, can be seen again in photos that show her freely. But not everyone was convinced of the happy ending.
Much of the story feels like a fairy tale, and fairy tales are known to end happily. Trapped behind the walls of a palace, a princess tries to escape from her powerful father. She fails, but she can send hidden messages, at which point people from different countries rush to her aid. And in the end, here it is free.
The princess is Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, one of the daughters of Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whom she once called “pure evil”. She is 35 years old, and since her stunning escape attempt in 2018 at the latest, the global public has been fascinated by every sign of her life. At that time, the Sheikha tried to leave the desert state by speedboat and jet-ski. With the support of several helpers, she was able to get to a ship off the coast of India – where her father’s kidnappers tracked her down and brought her back to Dubai against her will. According to research by “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, Nice phone and people around her using Pegasus spy software targeted.
Supporters established the Latifa Free Campaign, and in recent years the United Nations has repeatedly asked the UAE to provide “convincing evidence” that Latifa is alive.
“I’m a hostage”
At the beginning of this year I managed to smuggle a videotape from Dubai. Among other things, reported by the BBC in February, Latifa can be seen huddled in the bathroom, saying: “I’m a hostage and this villa has been turned into a prison.”
In May, photos of her appeared on Instagram, which some considered a sign of life, a glimmer of hope. Latifa with her friends, having coffee, in a restaurant in Dubai, at Madrid airport.
Another photo of Latifa has now been posted. This appears to mean the end of the Latifa Al Hurra campaign. It is said that the princess was in Iceland this time, with the British friend who accompanied her in the latest Instagram photos, and with her cousin Marcus Al-Sabri. She wears sunglasses, a hat, and the slightest smile on her face.
Al-Sabri, part of their support campaign, wrote on Twitter of an “emotional reunion”. Latifa is fine, she lives her life according to her own ideas. She would like to thank everyone for their good wishes, but would like the speculation about her safety to stop. The Sheikha herself did not comment.
Then the free Latifa supporters surrendered their homepage known to solve the campaign. The goal was to see Latifa free, and to live her own life. A Finnish friend who was there when she tried to escape in 2018 thanked all the supporters.
So, happy ending?
Not all Latifa’s supporters are convinced of this. In social media, there is always a urge to read that Latifah should speak, and some of them do not quite buy her happiness, which is hidden behind their sunglasses. It is unclear if Latifa was seen by other supporters besides her cousin in the meantime; Latifah Al Hurra left a request unanswered. The detained Dubai law firm, which Latifa turned to during her escape in 2018 and now appears to be at odds with her close supporters, wrote of an “ongoing photo campaign” with little disbelief.
And human rights lawyer and co-founder of Free Latifa, David Haye, seems more conservative. He spoke to British media about a “very positive development”. But you have to “treat everything with caution in light of history.” It is referring to former United Nations High Commissioner May Robinson. She was seen in pictures next to Latifa at the end of 2018. She later announced that she had been cheated on – and was unable to speak to Latifa about their situation.