UAE says Princess Latifa 'home' after UN expresses concern

Last Modified Saturday, 20 February 2021 (16:39 IST)
The has not been seen in public since 2018, when she attempted to escape from the country. The United Nations demanded proof that she was still alive following "disturbing" footage aired this week.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said Friday that Princess Latifa, one of the daughters of the ruler of Dubai, was being cared for at home as the UN asked the country for proof that she was alive.
British broadcaster BBC published a video on its investigative program Panorama on Tuesday that showed saying she was being held against her will in a villa and feared for her life.
 
"I am a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail," said Latifa in the video."Her family has confirmed that Her Highness is being cared for at home, supported by her family and medical professionals," said the embassy in London in a statement.
 
"She continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time," it added.
 
The embassy did not provide any images or videos that confirmed her wellbeing. The UAE embassy in London called media coverage of the situation "not reflective of the actual position" for Latifa.
 
UN getting involved
The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said they asked for evidence after the BBC broadcast the footage. OHCHR spokeswoman Liz Throssell said they were concerned with the UAE "in light of the disturbing video evidence."
 
"We requested more information and clarification about Sheikha Latifa's current situation," said Throssell.
 
"Given the serious concerns about Sheikha Latifa, we have requested that the government's response comes as a matter of priority," Throssell added before concluding, "we will continue to monitor and assess the situation closely."
 
Not seen in years
Princess Latifa has not been seen in public since March 2018, when she attempted to flee the UAE by boat. Her escape was intercepted by commandos off the coast of India, according to the UK-based group Detained in Dubai.
 
She said she was held in the Al-Awir central prison in Dubai until May 2018, before being moved to a villa. The head of the royal court showed pictures of Latifa with former Irish president and former UN rights chief Mary Robinson in December 2018, in response to the UN demanding to know Latifa's whereabouts.
 
"She was and never has been arrested or detained," wrote Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaibani, head of the royal court.
 
The BBC said the clips that it broadcast on Tuesday were filmed roughly one year after Latifa was captured and taken back to the UAE. The clips that the broadcaster put on air showed her crouched in a corner of what she said was a bathroom. (AFP, Reuters)
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