Three years after she was seized by commandos in international waters while trying to flee Dubai by boat, one of the daughters of the emirate's ruler says she is being held captive in a villa surrounded by police. "I'm a hostage. I’m not free. I am prisoned in this jail. My life is not in my hands," Princess Latifa Al Maktoum says in one of several secretly recorded videos Free Latifa campaigners shared with the BBC. One of the campaigners, close friend Tiina Jauhiainen, says she managed to smuggle a cellphone to the princess, but the videos have now stopped, raising fears for her safety. Campaigners are urging the United Nations to investigate the case. The BBC says it has confirmed the location of the heavily guarded villa, though it's not clear whether the 35-year-old princess is still inside.
"Every day I am worried about my safety, and the police threaten me that I will never see the sun again," the princess says in one of the videos. In the videos, she described how she fought back against the commandos before being drugged and waking up on a private jet returning to Dubai. In late 2018, former UN rights chief Mary Robinson said she had met the princess at her family's request and described her a "troubled young woman." She tells the BBC that she was "horribly tricked" by the family and she supports an international investigation to determine Latifa's whereabouts and welfare. Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, one of the world's richest royals, has an estimated 25 children. The Guardian notes that Latifa is the second daughter, after Princess Shamsa, to have vanished after trying to flee the family. Shamsa has not been seen since 2000, when she was abducted in Britain and taken back to Dubai. (Read more Dubai stories.)