Two images of Sheikha Latifa, a daughter of the ruler of Dubai, have appeared on Instagram in recent days, three months after the BBC broadcast a video message in which she said she was being held captive in a barricaded villa.
The footage, if verified, would mark one of the few times that Latifa has been photographed in public for a short time before she attempted three years ago to escape her father’s control by boarding the ‘a yacht to cross the Indian Ocean.
Since then, Latifa and her supporters claim that she has been detained against her will on the orders of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and vice president of the United Arab Emirates.
The Sheikh and the United Arab Emirates categorically deny the charges.
In April, UN rights experts demanded that the UAE show “proof of life” and release Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, 35, after the video released in February by the investigative program Panorama from the BBC.
A source close to the activists who pressed for his release said the two photos, posted on S said Taylor’s Instagram account, were genuine and were taken recently. Reuters could not independently verify whether Latifa enjoyed freedom of movement.
The UAE Foreign Ministry referred requests for comment on Instagram images to the Dubai government media office, which did not respond when contacted by Reuters. Contacted by Reuters via Instagram, Taylor, whose profile identifies her as a teacher at a public school in Dubai, did not respond.
The first image, posted to Taylor’s account on Thursday, shows Latifa outside a movie theater inside a Dubai mall. An advertisement for a movie released in Dubai on May 13 can be seen in the background.
The second image, posted to Taylor’s account on Saturday, shows Latifa sitting outside a restaurant with the Dubai Mall as a backdrop.
After the video broadcast by the BBC in February, the United Arab Emirates embassy in London issued a statement saying Latifa was being cared for at home by her family and healthcare professionals and would return “to life. when the time comes ”.
Latifa gained international attention in 2018 when a human rights group released a video made by her in which she described an attempted escape from Dubai. She was captured off the coast of India by special forces and brought back to Dubai.
In March 2020, a London High Court judge said he accepted as evidence a series of allegations made by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s ex-wife, Princess Haya, in a legal battle, in particular that the Sheikh had ordered the kidnapping of Latifa. Sheikh’s lawyers have dismissed the allegations.
In late 2018, Latifa’s family posted photos of her sitting with Mary Robinson, a former Irish President and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Robinson later told the BBC that she was “cheated” during the visit and never asked Latifa about her situation.
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