UAE urged to clarify status of runaway princess
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2018-05-06 04:10:08

UAE urged to clarify status of runaway princess

 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities to immediately disclose the whereabouts of Sheikha Latifa, the 32-year-old daughter of the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, saying her case could constitute “enforced disappearance.”

“UAE authorities should immediately reveal the whereabouts of Sheikha Latifa, confirm her status and allow her contact with the outside world,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the HRW’s Middle East director, in a statement on Saturday.

“If she is detained, she needs to be given the rights all detainees should have, including being taken before an independent judge,” the statement said.

In a video published in March, the 32-year-old princess announced she was fleeing the emirate because of mistreatment and restrictions imposed by her family. However, on April 17, a source close to the Dubai government said the runaway princess “was brought back” to the emirate.

HRW cited a witness as saying that authorities in the UAE had “intercepted Sheikha Latifa on March 4, 2018, as she tried to flee by sea to a third country, and returned her to the UAE.”

Sheikha Latifa, who told friends that she wished to flee restrictions imposed by her family, has not been seen or heard from for two months,” the rights organization said. That raised “serious concerns about her safety and well-being, two friends said.”

“Failure to disclose the whereabouts and status of the princess could qualify as an enforced disappearance, given the evidence suggesting that she was last seen as UAE authorities were detaining her,” HRW said.

Latifa’s cause has been taken up by the Britain-based campaign group Detained in Dubai, which is working to help victims of injustice in the UAE.

The group said Latifa tried to flee Dubai by ship, but the vessel was intercepted on March 4 less than 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of India.

It said a Finnish woman and friend of the princess was among the foreigners on board.

The source close to the Dubai government said last month that the Finnish woman and two French men, one with dual US citizenship, participated in the escape attempt and were wanted in Dubai on previous charges.

“It is a domestic issue that transformed into a soap opera that transformed into a rampaging scheme to tarnish the reputation of Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed,” the source said.

The princess is one of 30 children the wealthy ruler of Dubai has with six wives. Latifa said she had not been allowed to leave the UAE since 2000. She was also not allowed to drive and had her movements monitored round the clock.

She said she did not have permission to keep her own passport, and could not even go to another emirate without royal authorization.

Categories:   Middle East ،
Tags:   UAE ، Dubai ، Sheikh Latifa ،
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