An Emirati princess made headlines in March after she went missing while trying to escape from Dubai. Now, 32-year-old Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, is back in the news after a BBC documentary has revealed details of her seven-year-long plan to free herself from her father and United Arab Emirates’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
BBC Two’s Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of the Missing Princess puts together interviews with people involved in her escape plan to the United States via India, including a French former spy and the crew of a boat that attempted to bring her to India. The documentary also shows uncanny parallels between her disappearance and that of her elder sister, Shamsa, who disappeared from the streets of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 2000.
The documentary was released after a video of Latifa describing her restricted life at her home began circulating online. “My father is the most evil person I have ever met in my life,” she says in the video. “He’s pure evil. There’s nothing good in him.”
Latifa’s plan was reportedly thwarted by the Indian Coast Guard near Goa, following a request from the UAE. According to PTI, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances communicated with India about its involvement in her disappearance.
A statement by the Dubai Ruler’s Court on Thursday, however, said the princess “is now safe in Dubai”.
“We are aware and deeply saddened by the continued media speculation regarding Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al Maktoum,” the statement said. “This private family matter has caused significant upset and distress for all concerned, most of all Sheikha Latifa.”