Two pictures of Sheikha Latifa, a daughter of the ruler of Dubai, have appeared on Instagram in the past few days, three months after the BBC broadcast a video message saying she was held in a barricaded mansion.
The images, if verified, would be one of the few times Latifa was photographed in public just before she made a failed attempt to escape her father’s control by boarding a yacht three years ago to sail across the Indian Ocean.
Since then, Latifa and her supporters have claimed that she was 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 UAE categorically deny the allegations.
In April, UN legal experts demanded that the United Arab Emirates submit and release “proof of life” for Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, 35, after the video was broadcast on the BBC’s investigative news program Panorama in February.
A source close to activists campaigning for her release said the two pictures posted on Solved Taylor’s Instagram account were real and were recently taken. Reuters has not been able to independently verify that Latifa has freedom of movement.
The UAE Foreign Ministry referred requests for comments on the Instagram images to the Dubai government media office, which did not respond when it was contacted by Reuters. When Taylor was contacted via Instagram by Reuters, she did not respond, whose profile identifies her as a teacher at a government school in Dubai.
The first picture posted on Taylor’s account on Thursday shows Latifa in front of a cinema in a mall in Dubai. In the background is an advertisement for a film that was released on May 13 in Dubai.
The second picture, posted on Taylor’s account on Saturday, shows Latifa in front of a restaurant with the Dubai Mall in the background.
After the video was broadcast on the BBC in February, the UAE Embassy in London issued a statement stating that Latifa would be cared for at home by her family and health care professionals and that she would, in due course, be the ” public life ”.
Latifa gained international attention in 2018 when a human rights group posted a video she had made describing an attempt to escape Dubai. She was captured by special forces off the coast of India and brought back to Dubai.
In March 2020, a judge in London’s High Court said he accepted a number of allegations that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s former wife, Princess Haya, had established in a legal battle, including the fact that the Sheikh was kidnapping ordered by Latifa. The sheikh’s lawyers denied the allegations.
In late 2018, Latifa’s family posted photos of their meeting with Mary Robinson, a former Irish President and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Robinson subsequently told the BBC that she was “tricked” during the visit and never asked Latifa about her situation.
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