Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, daughter of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (one of three daughters with the same name), disappeared from the UAE, most likely in late February. In a video she made prior to her departure from the Emirates, Latifa said that she was “escaping” after years of abuse, torture, detention, forced drugging, physical, mental, emotional coercion, and essentially a lifetime of severe restrictions on her freedom. She also alleged that her father had been involved in similar and worse crimes against others, including other members of the royal family.
From a US-registered yacht, later identified as Nostromo, Latifa contacted Detained in Dubai saying that she was on her way to Goa, India. From there she planned to fly to the United States to seek asylum. She was aided in her escape by dual French / American citizen Herve Jaubert, who formerly worked as an intelligence agent for France. Her friend has also been confirmed as having accompanied Latifa.
On March 4th, Latifa called Detained in Dubai in a panic, saying that the boat had been boarded amidst gunfire, and neither she nor anyone else on the boat has been heard from since.
Now, if we assume that Latifa’s allegations against her father are false, this raises a number of questions. Because, if she was lying in the video, then of course, she has always lived a life of wealth and privilege, and presumably enjoyed the same, if not more freedom as anyone else. She would have been free to travel when and where she wanted, and she would have had the means to do so at the drop of a hat. Why would someone living such a life be inclined to flee, to escape, and to seek asylum somewhere else? Would anyone prefer to be a refugee instead of a princess?
If Latifa was not telling the truth in her video, then she, like other royals, will have been involved in a number of activities, had many friends and acquaintances, and so on. Her absence would have been immediately noticed, and both the royal family and the general public would be alarmed and dismayed.
Perhaps it is understandable that the ruler of Dubai would remain quiet in the days immediately following his daughter’s disappearance, hoping that his intelligence and security forces could find her. If Latifa was lying in her video, then Sheikh Mohamed should have had the natural fear and concern of a parent for his missing child. Foul play would likely be suspected, and the government might maintain silence on the issue while they madly sought to locate Latifa. But if we assume she left the UAE in the end of February, that means her family regarded her as missing for about 3 weeks. The story of her escape from Dubai, and her final distress call were published in the Daily Mail on March 9th, yet until now her father has not even acknowledged her disappearance. Again, if Latifa was lying in the video, and Sheikh Mohamed has actually been a doting, loving father, how can his silence be explained after the whole world has read the terrified final message of his daughter pleading for help as she heard men firing guns and boarding her boat? Was he not terrified along with his child? And if she was lying in the video, was he so angry over the allegations she made in the clip that he stopped caring what happened to her?
Of course, I think we all understand that the silence of the UAE, and their active attempts to actually obscure the story of Latifa’s disappearance , indicate that, in fact, Latifa was either killed or taken into custody on March 4th and they are desperately trying to figure out a believable explanation for her escape, her video, and her disappearance. They also have to explain the disappearance of Herve Jaubert, Latifa’s friend, and anyone else on the boat.
They are, no doubt, hoping that they will never have to explain; but there are too many questions that need to be answered. But, simply claiming that Latifa’s allegations against Sheikh Mohamed are untrue, or saying that she was somehow manipulated into saying them so that she could get asylum, answers nothing, but just raises more questions.
This story is not going to go away. Latifa’s accusations against her father are grave, and are supported by her own flight from the country, and by her suspicious disappearance. Frankly, the ramifications of this story bring the political stability of the United Arab Emirates into question.
Detained in Dubai Limited, is registered in England and Wales under company number 11248768 with its registered office at Kemp House, 180 City Road, London EC1 2NX UK