A new image appearing to show Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a daughter of the ruler of Dubai, appeared on Instagram, three months after the BBC broadcast a video message in which she said she was being held captive in a barricaded villa. .
The image, if verified, would mark one of the few times Latifa has been photographed in public for a short time before she tried three years ago to escape her father’s control by getting on board of 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.
The photo, posted to Seled Taylor’s Instagram account, apparently shows Latifa sitting in a restaurant. It comes days after another photo apparently of the princess was posted on Taylor’s account.
In April, UN rights experts demanded that the UAE show “proof of life” and the release of Latifa, 35, after the video released in February by the investigative news program of the BBC Panorama.
A source close to activists who pressed for his release said the two photos were genuine and were taken recently. Reuters could not independently verify whether Latifa enjoys 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 cinema 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 UAE 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 Princess Haya, the ex-wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 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.