A Dubai princess has gone missing after trying and failing a daring escape from her oppressive father
The princess daughter of Dubai's ruler has gone missing, and hasn't been heard from since March, when she was reportedly kidnapped by armed men during a bid to escape the UAE by boat.
33-year-old, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum - who is the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai's ruler and the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates - allegedly spent seven years planning to flee her life of luxury, and made a video which was only to be released if her escape attempt went awry.
The clip, which was entrusted to a US lawyer, was initially posted to YouTube, and is now the subject of a BBC documentary.
The planning required for Latifa's doomed escape bid has been laid bare for the first time in the BBC documentary, Escape From Dubai. It features interviews with a French ex-spy and Finnish capoeira teacher, who claim they aided Latifa, as well as the Filipino crew who allegedly tried to sail her to freedom.
Latifa is the second of the Sheikh's daughters to attempt to flee their life of caged luxury, and then disappear after they were reportedly recaptured. Her older sister, Shamsa, was discovered in Cambridge after escaping the family's estate in Surrey back in 2000. This purported abduction was never fully investigated by British law enforcement.
In the video she recorded prior to her escape, Latifa states that she had previously attempted to leave the UAE, aged 16. She was, however, captured at the border, jailed for three years, and beaten and tortured. This, as well as her sister's experience, meant that her second bid for freedom had to be foolproof.
According to an email shared by Jaubert, Latifa wrote one day: "I’ve been mistreated and oppressed all of my life. Women are treated like subhumans. My father ... can’t continue to do what he’s been doing to us all."
The documentary details how Latifa escaped from Dubai in February of 2018. She allegedly changed her clothes, and fled by car across the border to Oman, where she was aided by martial-arts teacher, Tiina Jauhiainen.
It was then that she commandeered a small speedboat to transport her to an escape boat, which was flying a US flag in international waters, so as to escape undetected.
While this boat transported the princess 30 miles from the Indian coast, it was purportedly stormed by Indian commandos at the behest of her father.
The BBC documentary team assume that Latifa was returned to Dubai - but no one has seen or heard from her since - despite pressure from Human Rights Watch.
In the 40 minute YouTube video, which has since amassed over a million views, Latifa makes a slew of accusations against her father, and her former life in the UAE.
"All my father cares about is his reputation. He will kill people to protect his own reputation," she said.
"There is no justice here, they don't care. Especially if you're a female, your life is so disposable.
It could be the last video I make. If you're watching this, I'm either dead or in a very very bad situation."