The United Arab Emirates has responded to a query by U.N. human rights watchdog on the status of Dubai’s princess Sheikha Latifa, saying she is alive.
The BBC’s investigative news programme Panorama on Tuesday published a video it said was of Latifa, one of the daughters of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
According to the report, Latifa is being held against her will in a barricaded villa.
“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”, Liz Throssell, spokeswoman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, told an online briefing in Geneva.
The OHCHR agency had approached the country’s permanent mission in Geneva on Thursday, she said.
“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,” she added, adding the agency would continue to monitor the situation closely.
A response to the enquiry has come from the UAE embassy in London.
It said Sheikha Latifa is being cared for at home, adding that media coverage does not reflect the true situation.
“Her family has confirmed that Her Highness is being cared for at home, supported by her family and medical professionals.
“She continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time,” the statement said.
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum drew international attention in 2018 when a human rights group released a video made by her in which she described an attempt to escape Dubai.
Last March, a London High Court judge said he accepted as proved a series of allegations made by Sheikh Mohammed’s former wife, Princess Haya, in a legal battle, including that the sheikh ordered the abduction of Latifa. The sheikh’s lawyers rejected the allegations.
“I am a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail,” Latifa, 35, said in the video published by the BBC on Tuesday.
“All the windows are barred shut, I can’t open any window.” She said she was making the video in the bathroom of the villa, the only room she could lock herself into.