In the latest controversy and what seems like a serious breach of human rights, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, a Dubai princess, has been detained in a “jail villa” by her father Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Heartbreaking videos of her explaining the whole issue have been released by BBC and it is reported that she sent them to her friend from the jail washroom. From the looks of it, she hasn’t seen the outside world in more than 2 years.
Even the phone was apparently smuggled into her room. In the video, Latifa says:
I’m a hostage. I can’t even go outside to get any fresh air. I don’t know when I’ll be released and what the conditions will be like when I’m released. Every day I am worried about my safety and my life.
Latifa was taken into custody by her father after she tried to escape Dubai with the help of a friend in 2018. She says she did so because she wasn’t allowed to go out, travel, study or do anything normal.
But she was captured by commandoes on the boat, who tranqualised her. In an apparent bid to make everything look normal, her step-mother also scheduled a lunch where she got Latifa and invited the former president of Ireland and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.
However, she told Latifa that this was a ‘test’ and she must behave well if she wants to be let out. Meanwhile, Mary was informed that Latifa was suffering from bipolar disorder. So neither of them talked about the condition of the princess and how she was living.
Though sporadically, Latifa, who was previously a great skydiver, did send messages to her friends. However, she has stopped doing that now and there is an increased concern about her well-being.
The U.N. has been requested to step in, as Latifa’s family maintains their stand that she is in “loving care”.
In one of the videos, the princess says:
The situation is getting more and more desperate every day and I am getting really, really tired of this now.
Currently, there is no valid source that can claim where Latifa is or if she is even alive. Among other things, this puts into perspective how the simplest of things like walking on the street or shopping can become a luxury for people, suffering because of those in power and often, their patriarchy.
Things usually take a very grim turn as you can tell by a survey done in 2011, according to which 34% of the participants had undergone female genital mutilation.
You can watch the BBC video, here:
All screenshots have been taken from the BBC video.