Haunting video of Dubai ruler's kidnapped daughter resurfaces

‘If you’re watching, either I’m dead or in a very bad situation’: Haunting video shows Dubai ruler’s daughter speaking before he ordered Indian special forces to capture her

  • Chilling video filmed by one of Dubai ruler’s two captive daughter’s resurfaces
  • Princess Latifa appeared in a YouTube clip posted to the site in March 2018 
  • She gave an account of her abduction and imprisonment ordered by her father
  • High Court ruled that Sheikh Al Maktoum had ‘ordered and orchestrated’ the abduction and forced return of Sheikha Shamsa, and her sister Latifa   

Chilling video filmed by one of the Dubai ruler’s two daughter’s now being held captive in their father’s palaces revealed how she faced ‘constant torture’ after a failed escape bid.

Princess Latifa appeared in the clip posted to YouTube in March 2018, in which she gave a disturbing account of her abduction and imprisonment ordered by her father Sheikh al-Maktoum.

The account surfaced online just days after she was captured for a second time trying to flee, when Indian special forces boarded her boat as she tried to escape to international waters and took her back to Dubai.

She made the video while on the run and in case she was caught, and entrusted it to a lawyer in America. Days later it was released on the video sharing website, where so far it has been viewed 4.2million times.

Yesterday the High Court ruled that Sheikh al Maktoum had ‘ordered and orchestrated’ the abduction and forced return to Dubai of Sheikha Shamsa, then 19, in August 2000 and her sister Latifa twice, in 2002 and again in 2018. 

In the clip, which judge Sir Andrew McFarlane said in his judgement that he felt ‘confident in relying upon all that Latifa said’ she says: ‘I’m making this video because it could be the last video I make, yeah.

‘Pretty soon I’m going to be leaving somehow and I am not so sure of the outcome, but I’m 99 per cent positive it will work.

‘And if doesn’t then this video can help me because all my father cares about is his reputation. He will kill people to protect his own reputation. He only cares about himself and his ego.

‘So this video could save my life. And if you are watching this video, it’s not such a good thing, either I’m dead, or I’m in a very, very, very bad situation.’

Sheikha Latifa (left) is pictured here escaping  Dubai with her best friend Tiina Jauhianien

Princess Latifa appeared in the clip (pictured) posted to YouTube in March 2018

The failed bid for freedom was not the first time she tried to leave the emirate, having attempted to run away in 2002 before being stopped at the border with Oman and returned to the family home.

Latifa said in the video that she was held against her will after that escape attempt until October 2005, during which time she was subjected to ‘constant torture’.

She adds: ‘It was constant torture, constant torture, even when they weren’t physically beating me up, they were torturing me. 

‘They would switch off all the lights. I was in solitary confinement by myself totally, and there’s no windows, there’s no light, so when they switched off the light, it was pitch black.

‘They would switch it off for days, so I didn’t know when one day ended then the next began and then they would – they would make sounds to harass me and then they would come in the middle of the night to, pull me out of bed to beat me.’

Before going on the run herself and being captured in 2018, Latifa recorded a chilling video claiming her elder sister Shamsa (pictured in an undated photo) was kept on medication to ‘control her mind’ that had ‘made her like a zombie’

She also told how her elder sister, Shamsa, ran away from the family while staying in Surrey and remained at large in the UK for two months before being grabbed off the street, drugged ‘like a zombie’ and imprisoned.

Emirati authorities rubbished all the claims. But now the High Court has found them to be true.

High Court judge Sir Andrew McFarlane concluded of Latifa: ‘She was plainly desperate to extricate herself from her family and prepared to undertake a dangerous mission in order to do so. 

‘I feel confident in relying upon all that Latifa has said in the video and elsewhere.’   

Latifa’s attempt to leave Dubai in February 2018 was made with the help of Tiina Jauhiainen, whom she befriended after Ms Jauhiainen began to teach her capoeira.

Latifa and Ms Jauhiainen – with the help of a former French spy, Herve Jaubert (pictured) who is said to have charged Latifa 350,000 euro (£302,800) for his assistance – attempted to travel by boat into international waters

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum attend day two of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse in an undated photo

After several months of planning, Latifa and Ms Jauhiainen – with the help of a former French spy, Herve Jaubert, who is said to have charged Latifa 350,000 euro (£302,800) for his assistance – attempted to travel by boat into international waters.

But, on March 4 2018, Indian special forces boarded their boat and, according to Ms Jauhiainen, tied Latifa’s hands behind her back and took her back to Dubai.  

The confirmation of long-standing rumours surrounding Sheikh Mohammed’s two daughters came out of his legal battle with his sixth wife Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, 45, the half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan, over their two children.

Princess Haya asked Sir Andrew, the most senior family judge in England and Wales, to make findings of fact about Sheikh Mohammed in relation to his application for contact with their daughter Al Jalila, 12, and son Zayed, eight.

Sir Andrew explained in his judgment that ‘a substantial element in the extreme concern (Princess Haya) has for the future well-being of her children arises from her belief that Shamsa and Latifa have been and are deprived of their liberty on an open-ended basis’.

On board were the skipper, a French adventurer and sometime spy, a three-man Filipino crew and two women passengers, one a Finnish national, the other Her Highness Princess Latifa al-Maktoum (pictured)

Shamsa, now 38, was abducted from the streets of Cambridge on August 19 2000 and has never been seen in public since.

In his judgment, Sir Andrew said Shamsa contacted an immigration solicitor – who cannot be named for legal reasons – in June 2000, saying she was estranged from her father and asking for advice on how she might be able to remain in the UK.

The judge stated: ‘He heard nothing further from her until he was informed by police in August 2000 that Shamsa may have been abducted.’

But, in February 2001, the solicitor received an email said to be from Shamsa – sent by one her sisters – which read: ‘I was caught on August 19, in Cambridge.

‘He (Sheikh Mohammed) sent four Arab men to catch me, they were carrying guns and threatening me, they drove me to my father’s place in Newmarket, there they gave me two injections and a handful of tablets, the very next morning a helicopter came and flew me to the plane, which took me back to Dubai. I am locked up until today.’

The email added: ‘I told you this would happen … I know these people, they have all the money, they have all the power, they think they can do anything.’

Shamsa also provided another account of her abduction, leaving an answerphone message on the telephone of a complete stranger on August 21, saying she had been returned to Dubai against her will and asking for her solicitor to be informed.

DCI David Beck led Cambridgeshire Police’s investigation into her disappearance, and discovered the arrival and departure of a helicopter which travelled from Newmarket to France at 5am on August 20.

The officer sought permission from the Crown Prosecution Service to visit Dubai to interview potential witnesses, but his request was refused.

At a hearing in November, Princess Haya’s barrister Charles Geekie QC told the court that DCI Beck’s evidence made clear that there had been ‘interference’ in the police inquiry.

In his judgment, Sir Andrew said the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had confirmed it held ‘information relating to the investigation of Shamsa’s alleged kidnapping’.

But the FCO refused to disclose it, saying that ‘releasing information on this issue would increase public knowledge about our relations with UAE’ and ‘would reduce the UK Government’s ability to protect and promote UK interests through its relations with UAE which would not be in the public interest’.

Sir Andrew concluded: ‘It is not possible to find on the balance of probability that permission for Mr Beck to visit Dubai was refused because of the direct intervention of the FCO, nor, moving further still from the basic known facts, that any intervention by the FCO had been triggered by the father or the government of Dubai.’ 

   The judge added that ‘the cooperation of the Indian military in the operation to capture Latifa’ demonstrated Sheikh Mohammed and the UAE’s significant international respect and influence.

Latifa was seen in public in December 2018, when Princess Haya invited her friend Mary Robinson – former president of Ireland – to visit Dubai to establish ‘proof of life’.

The ruler’s court in Dubai confirmed in a letter to the United Nations later that month that Latifa was ‘alive, safe and in the loving care of her family at their Dubai residences’.

Princess Haya’s lawyers wanted both Shamsa and Latifa to give evidence about their treatment at their father’s hands.

But, in his evidence to the court, Sheikh Mohammed claimed: ‘I saw both of my daughters on August 27 2019 and I explained that Princess Haya’s solicitors wanted to speak to them.

‘Both Shamsa and Latifa were adamant that they did not want to do this. I gave them both the opportunity to take independent legal advice, so that they could take an informed decision about whether and how to become involved in these proceedings.’

Sir Andrew rejected that contention, stating that he did not accept that ‘Shamsa and Latifa have been given a free choice about engaging in this court process and communicating directly in some way either with the mother in these proceedings or the court’.  

Timeline of the legal battle between Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his wife Princess Haya bint Al Hussain 

The High Court in London has published rulings relating to the legal battle between Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his former wife Princess Haya bint Al Hussain of Jordan.

Here is a timeline of events in the case.

July 15, 1949 – Sheikh Mohammed is born in Dubai.

May 3, 1974 – Princess Haya born in Amman, Jordan.

August 15, 1981 – Princess Shamsa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is born to Sheikh Mohammed, who has several wives.

December 5, 1985 – Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is born.

Summer 2000 – During a visit to England, Shamsa runs away from her family and seeks immigration advice to try and stay in the UK.

August 2000 – Shamsa is taken from the streets of Cambridge by men working for her father. 

She is taken to her father’s home in Newmarket, before being taken by helicopter to France and then to Dubai. She has not been seen in public since.

March 2001 – A woman claiming to be Shamsa contacts Cambridgeshire Police, saying she has been taken from England to Dubai.

December 2001 – The Guardian publishes an article suggesting Shamsa has been abducted from the UK.

April 2004 – Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya are married.

December 2, 2007 – Al Jalila born.

January 7, 2012 – Zayed born.

February/March 2018 – A video of Latifa is uploaded to the internet, in which she gives a detailed account of important events in her life. She also describes what she knows about her sister Shamsa’s time in England and her subsequent abduction.

December 6, 2018 – The BBC broadcasts a documentary called Escape From Dubai: The Mystery Of The Missing Princess.

February 7, 2019 – Sheikh Mohammed divorces Princess Haya under sharia law without her knowledge. She says this date, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of her father’s death, is deliberately chosen to ‘maximise insult and upset to her’.

April 15 – Princess Haya travels to the UK with Jalila and Zayed.

May 14 – Sheikh Mohammed issues proceedings at the High Court in London seeking the summary return of his two children with Princess Haya to Dubai.

May 22 – First High Court hearing before Mr Justice Moor – the media, who are unaware of the hearing or even the proceedings, do not attend.

July 16 – On the eve of a ‘scoping hearing’ to consider media issues before Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division of the High Court, Princess Haya issues applications to make the children wards of court, for a forced marriage protection order and for a non-molestation order.

July 17 – Three journalists attend and lawyers for Sheikh Mohammed apply for them to be excluded. Sir Andrew says the hearing is relatively short while those in court ‘simply scope out what lies before us’ and to consider what information, if any, should be given to the media. The judge adds that the parties will issue a short statement explaining the nature of the proceedings.

July 18 – With the permission of the court, the parties release the following statement: ‘The parties to these proceedings are HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances.’

July 30 – At a hearing to work out issues, including the question of media reporting and to how to proceed to a final hearing to determine the welfare issues, Sir Andrew allows the media to report that Sheikh Mohammed has applied for the summary return of the children to Dubai, and that Princess Haya has applied for the children to be made wards of court, for a non-molestation order and a forced marriage protection order.

November 12-13 – Sir Andrew conducts a hearing to make findings of fact in relation to Princess Haya’s allegations against Sheikh Mohammed.

December 11 – The judge delivers his ruling on the fact-finding hearing. However, strict reporting restrictions preventing its publication remain in force.

January 17, 2020 – The judge delivers a ruling on a series of ‘assurances and waivers’ given by Sheikh Mohammed to Princess Haya. He also conducts a hearing to determine whether his earlier rulings should be made public.

January 27 – Sir Andrew concludes that his earlier rulings should be published, but the publication is postponed pending a Court of Appeal challenge by Sheikh Mohammed to this decision.

February 26 – The Court of Appeal hears Sheikh Mohammed’s challenge.

February 28 – Three leading judges dismiss his appeal and refuse to grant him permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The stay on publication remains in force to give the father chance to make a fresh challenge to the Supreme Court.

March 5 – The Supreme Court announces that it has refused permission to appeal and all previous rulings are made public. 

The judge’s conclusions are that Princess Haya was subjected to a sustained campaign of fear and intimidation by her former husband. He also finds that Shamsa and Latifa were abducted on their father’s orders.

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