The Foreign Secretary has called footage of the ruler of Dubai’s daughter “very distressing” after the princess accused her father of holding her against her will.
Dominic Raab said people would want to see that Princess Latifa Al Maktoum is “alive and well” after she said in secretly recorded videos that she feared for her life.
The princess has accused her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, of holding her hostage in Dubai since an attempt to flee the emirate in 2018.
Video messages recorded on a mobile phone, obtained by the BBC’s Panorama, show the princess, now 35, crouched against a wall in a bathroom at the “villa jail” where she claims to be being detained.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has suggested it would soon question the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about Princess Latifa.
Princess Latifa’s father is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – ruler of Dubai and one of the richest heads of state in the world.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
He is also vice-president of the UAE.
Activists claim that there is no tolerance of dissent and the judicial system can discriminate against women.
The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, kidnapped and locked up his daughter Latifa because she wanted to lead an independent life. She smuggled out videos from her “villa jail,” but they now have stopped, raising fears for her safety. https://t.co/FF9I3iPQ4y pic.twitter.com/TCfGbtLlDw
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) February 16, 2021
The footage prompted global calls for a UN investigation, while the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the videos were “deeply troubling”.
“We are concerned about it,” Raab told BBC News.
He said the videos showed “a young woman in deep distress”, adding that the UK would watch any developments from the UN “very closely”.
Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “We will certainly raise these new developments with the UAE.
Princess Latifa: Friends urge UN to intervene amid reports of Dubai ruler’s daughter ‘hostage ordeal’
“Other parts of the UN human rights system with relevant mandates may also become involved once they have analysed the new material or received specific allegations.”
Dominic Raab told Sky News: “You can only watch the footage shown and see that there is very distressing pictures, a very difficult case. I think it is concerning.
“We always raise human rights issues with all of our partners, including the UAE.
“We have seen that the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights will be following up on what we have seen and we’ll be watching and monitoring that very closely indeed.”
“People just on a human level want to see that she is alive and well … we would certainly welcome that.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab supports seeing proof from the UAE that Princess Latifa is alive.
More on this story here: https://t.co/QYYaiesXue pic.twitter.com/8N1Q8MaLrv
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 17, 2021
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the “proper course” of action was to follow the developments from the United Nations “quite closely”.
“I have always raised human-rights issues, I always do, with foreign ministers, with the ambassadors,” he told Sky News.
“I think the right thing given what the United Nations has said is to follow very closely, and we are obviously always supportive of, the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights.
“I think that is the proper course right now, to follow those developments quite closely.”
Asked if he would support seeing “proof of life” of Princess Latifa, he told Sky News: “I think given what we have just seen, I think people would just at a human level want to see that she is alive and well, of course.
“I think that is a natural instinct and we would certainly welcome that.”
BBC Panorama: The Missing Princess is available now on BBC iPlayer