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.
Former president, humanitarian, Chair of the Elders, feminist, climate change activist and inspiration Mary Robinson is our overall Woman of the Year 2018https://t.co/9LyBKOxcRA
— IMAGE Magazine (@image_magazine) December 29, 2018