On Christmas Eve, the family of an Emirati princess released pictures to rebut ‘false’ abduction allegations.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, 33, daughter of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, was seized from a yacht off the coast of India in March and had not been seen from since.

In the pictures, Latifa appears alongside former Irish President Mary Robinsonn, who the UAE foreign ministry said was invited by her family to meet Latifa.

In a video  made before her escape (above), Princess Latifa said she spent seven years trying to flee a gilded prison and feared torture if captured.

Via The Guardian:

The dilemma was that Latifa is vulnerable, she’s troubled. She made a video that she now regrets and she planned an escape, or was part of a plan of escape,” said Robinson, who told how she had lunch with Latifa, Hayat and others and was able to “assess the situation”.

Robinson said the princess was receiving psychiatric care, adding: “She’s a very likeable young woman but clearly troubled, clearly needs the medical care that she’s receiving.” She said the family “did not want her to endure any more publicity”

Robinson faced intensive criticism on Thursday from rights campaigners, with one alleging she had been “used as a willing pawn in the PR battle between the UAE ruling family and the rest of the world”.

There was also a sceptical reaction from Human Rights Watch (HRW), which was name-checked during a BBC interview on Thursday with Robinson, who said she had been asked by Princess Hayat, one of the Sheikh’s wives and someone she had known for a long time, to come to Dubai to help with a “family dilemma”.

“Mary Robinson said in the BBC interview that Princess Latifa is ‘a troubled young woman’, though I would be troubled too if I had tried to escape a gilded prison and was kidnapped back into it,” said Roth.

Radha Stirling, the chief executive of the Detained in Dubai group, said listeners to the interview with Robinson would have been “astonished at the extent to which Ms Robinson appeared to be reciting almost verbatim from Dubai’s script”.

Meanwhile, via the BBC:

Another rights group, Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, also said it was concerned by Mrs Robinson’s comments.

“Mrs Robinson appears to have spent a couple of hours with Sheikha Latifa, and despite having no formal medical or psychiatric training, has somehow diagnosed her condition and concluded that she is receiving appropriate treatment. It is unclear on what basis Mrs Robinson considers herself qualified to do so,” it said in a statement.

Mary Robinson labelled a ‘willing pawn’ over visit with UAE princess (The Guardian)

Sheikha Latifa: Mary Robinson ‘backed Dubai version of events’ (BBC)

Pics: UAE



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58 thoughts on “Oh Mary

  1. Lilly

    Oh Mary is right. If she had really wanted to help, why didn’t she offer to accompany her out of UAE to somewhere she could be independently assessed – by psychiatrists, not lawyers on tour.

  2. Fergus the Magic Postman

    Always admired Mary Robinson massively.

    However, the only thing Mary Robinson can confirm here with any degree of certainty is that Latifa is alive.
    The fact Latifa is “troubled” may be down to the fact that she is being held captive.
    Robinson’s visit was designed to serve a purpose, and the subsequent interview seems to have been very much pushing an agenda set by the captors (which may be just the help with a dilemma they were seeking).

  3. Eoin

    Should Mary receive any fees or tokens of appreciation for her troubles, from the Dubai ruling family, I hope the tax relief she’s getting for her tat and over-valued house in Ballina, covers any tax bill.

    Also, if Mary is soaking up some winter sunshine in Dubai as a guest of the ruling family, could she ask them to turf out the Kinahans please.

    1. Otis Blue

      The Al-Maktoum family has extensive interests in Ireland, most notably in thoroughbred breeding. They own extensive lands in Kildare and Meath.

      The family charitable foundation supported the development of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh which was officially opened in 1996 by President Mary Robinson.

      “What’s that you say Mrs Robinson…?”

      1. Eoin

        Yep, and another stud farm in Tipperary.

        Maybe Mary had good intentions with her role in this affair, but she’s coming across as a useful idiot, and if it emerges she was being paid for her trouble – beyond a fully expensed Christmas break in the winter sunshine of Dubai – there wouldn’t be much sympathy for her, useful idiot or not.

          1. johnny

            h/t The Phoenix which has great story on Mary and her mysterious donors…..

            “The board is chaired by former Ulster Bank CEO David Went, who previously chaired The Irish Times Trust and the Trinity Foundation. Other members include the likes of Tom Arnold and Frank Convery, while the secretary is Robbo’s long-time right-hand woman, Bride Rosney.

            The good news for the foundation is that income last year was up almost €100,000 on 2016 thanks to a donation from an unidentified source.”


  4. kellMA

    Also, she clearly says that members of the family are good friends of hers so she is not in a good position to make a take a fully objective view of the situation….. and she is not a psychiatrist…

  5. Lilly

    Look at Latifa’s body language in that first shot. ‘I’m not taking part in this charade,’ it’s saying.

    1. Dhod

      It’s a bizarre situation. Mary Robinson, feminist and human rights campaigner comes out and defends those that are holding their daughter against her will. She’s defending a monarchy that treat women as second class citizens. She’s defending a monarchy with a terrible human rights record. There is something up here

      1. newsjustin


        Icon of Irish progressive liberalism at the beck and call of a regressive Islamic polygomous monarchy to justify the gravely suspicious captivity of a young woman who doesn’t want to be there.

        Nice one Mary.

        File this under the same heading as “President Higgins declares Fidel Castro a hero.” Only worse.

        1. Clampers Outside!

          In fairness to Higgins he did row back in that after, and admitted it was a mistake.
          Take that as you will.

      2. johnny

        Oh its not over yet according to the Lovin Dubai-does Jamie Heaslip have ownership here too:)
        I’m sure she can’t wait for another visit from ”Dr” Robinson, what with all those degrees/doctorates,it’s no wonder she got a little mixed up,when ‘diagnosing’ this lady. Anything good in Loving’s Saudi about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,or is it really just an arm of the state-run Saudi Press Agency’s (SPA) reportage?
        Jamie-say it ain’t so!

        “She said that Latifa is a ‘troubled young woman’ receiving care, as she’s suffering from a serious medical condition.
        Robinson also said she will return to Dubai in March to meet with them again.”


    2. Giggidygoo

      The photo and positioning of the two of them suggests that actually. Why would someone stand almost back against a wall beside a sofa either meeting or saying goodbye to another person? Latina’s body language actually suggests some element of fear – maybe because she has been forced to pose with Robinson?

    3. Lolzy

      You are right Lilly, her body language says it all. I believe her. I believe she is now in a “very bad situation” Alive but, not free.

        1. johnny

          -will it be missed only looked at 16/17 but in each year the irish state (that be you) gave Dr Robinson 150,00 per annum for this vanity project-mission accomplished huh!
          -fair assume the vig was a buck fifty p.a. from the irish state, if so that would be over 1 MILLION FREE money from you guys-for what now exactly ?

  6. Catherine costelloe

    Latifa states she was tortured , kept in darkened room for over 3 years (2002) : that her ‘evil’ father murdered people, set fire to houses. If that’s the case he could have finished her off quite easily, couldn’t he? All things considered I think Mary R made a mistake….Latifa should be referred to private independent clinic , well away from Dubai. If Latifa is “a troubled young woman” don’t put her back into her gilted cage that she appears to dread.

  7. Hank

    Just watched Latifa’s full 40 minute video. I found her to be very believable, very eloquent and she has already achieved a lot just by getting the video into the public domain although that may prove very costly to her on a personal level. I really hope things somehow work out for her. Such a strong young lady.
    Very, very poor judgement call from Mary Robinson who should be utterly ashamed of herself.

    1. Lilly

      + 1 I’ve only just watched the entire video now. Wow. Incredibly brave woman. Mary Robinson – what a disappointing person you are.

  8. Dub Spot

    Dubai/UAE track record on human rights should be everybody’s concern instead of ejaculating over British football teams (and GAA sports) sponsored by Emirates and Etihad. They’re enough to make you want to join the Kheil HaAvir and train to drop GBUs from F16s.

  9. realPolithicks

    It definitely seems like an odd decision by robinson to participate in what appears to be a public relations exercise by this family.

  10. Alan mc gee

    I was struck by Marys self aggrandising at her recent appearance on the Late Late show. speaking of her annointment to the chair of “elders” by Mandela.
    the woman is bewitched by the smell of her own farts it seems.
    power corrupts entirely even modern saints like Mary.
    never liked her.
    she’s righteous and self important much like the twerp in office at present. I suppose Irish people like to be looked down on by their betters

  11. nellyb

    Robinson was clear on her remit. It ain’t HBO series and she ain’t a CIA agent undercover to investigate. “Troubled”: “beset by problems or difficulties”, “showing distress or anxiety”. Give her some slack, folks.

    1. GiggidyGoo

      Not when she purports to be some kind of person who can diagnose in this detail over one lunch. She has been used or she’s being paid in my opinion.

  12. SOQ

    Or, by meeting she brings media attention to an otherwise ignored woman. Hands up heard of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum before this? Sometimes the obvious is just that, obvious.

    I trust Mary.

    1. Lilly

      Change your name to Some Old Dope and do not pass Go.

      The video was out there and human rights activists were beginning to ask questions, such as why hasn’t she been seen since March. A pertinent question, given the nature of her allegations.

      She’s not some reality TV wannabe desperate for media attention. Inviting Mary to lunch was a ‘move along now, nothing to see here’ manoeuvre.

      1. SOQ

        Mary Robinson is one if not the best known Irish diplomat in the world and to my knowledge, has never put a foot wrong. The fact she even got involved in something like this makes me wonder if there is not a little more to it than we are being told.

        Dubai is a brutal place. There is no debt forgiveness for a start so if you owe money you won’t get out without it being paid. The way in which Indian construction workers alone are treated is horrendous. And I do believe some of what this woman is saying but there is holes, a lot of them.

        It is an interesting story but I reserve the right to withhold judgement about a missing Arab princess until the full facts emerge, if they ever do.

        If that makes me a dope then so be it.

        1. :-Joe

          Well maybe start by watching the 40+ minute video she realeased…

          OR/AND.. Just punch her name into the internet…
          (via https://www.duckduckgo.com or your preferred privacy focused search engine…)

          It’s fairly obvious… clearly robinson is the right woman at the right time for the job and apparently someone some people must have some leverage over her to get her to do it…

          Otherwise being a willfull architect of this charade is an even worse situation to try to comprehend…


        2. SOQ

          My comments were after doing both Joe, but thanks anyways.

          This is a princess who was educated in private school in England and has travelled the world by private jet then… complains about restrictions of freedom.

          How does construction workers standing by to replace those who fall of the skeletons of skyscrapers grab you as restrictions of freedoms?

          A bit of perspective wouldn’t go a miss here lads.

          1. Lilly

            Clearly you didn’t watch the video SOQ or you would know that Latifa was educated at the International School of Choueifat in Dubai. And that she has NEVER had access to her passport.

            Ah sure what’s a few years of false imprisonment and torture if you get the odd spin in a private jet at your father’s behest. That seems to be the gist of your dribbling.

    1. :-Joe


      No.. more than a few prawn sambos and a box over the dugout..
      It’ll be board of directors or the actual director of football more like…..


      Oh mercy…


  13. :-Joe

    Mary “Fredo” Robinson…. wow.. just wow!?!?…

    It reminds me of that famous moment when agnes (aka mother theresa) was caught in that photo-op with the british businessman who later fell of the boat and drowned…

    At least hire a non-arab PR company who can appeal to western audiences and give at least a d-rated effort… It’s not a question of money…. so are you just arrogant, careless and lazy about the whole charade?.. Do you want to get caught out of guilt?…

    Everyone has dirt and we already knew her hands were a bit red here and there etc. but this is a not a fall from lofty grace.. it’s a nosedive straight through whatever was left of her legacy… Now openly joining the ranks of tony blair and his ilk…(He’s into this amateur dramatics for profit too and also a war criminal btw)

    I think it’s safe to openly declare the death of the twentieth century’s age of social democracy and all the good it did us while it lasted…

    We have no leadership anymore folks, just a bunch of corporate middle managers and future disappointments from our own bad judgment when selecting role models…

    Anyway, the escape pod has been activated… so goodbye everyone, it didn’t go all that well but it was fun some of the time!….


    Fredo? -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASUbDrWa5D4


  14. Lilly

    Latifa looks somewhat bloated in these pics in comparison with her appearance in the video. No doubt they have her drugged to the gills, under the same regime as her sister Shamsa with minders on hand 24/7 to make sure she takes her pills.

    Anyone who takes a winter holiday in the hellhole that is Dubai should take a long, hard look at themselves.

    What a shame she didn’t wait until she had made it safely to the US and sought asylum before texting her family.

    1. Hank

      If you search Daily Motion for “Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of the Missing Princess”, there’s an interesting documentary about the escape plan

  15. f_lawless

    not really – one is doing the bidding of a global elite class, the other is being vilified because she wouldn’d do the bidding of a global elite class

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