15 British MPs Co-Sign Petition Urging UAE to Release Princess Latifa
15 members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom have co-signed a petition calling on the Government of Her Majesty to pressure the United Arab Emirates to abide by its own domestic and international obligations and release Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
“Horrific details have recently emerged about the kidnapping of Sheikha Latifa, and her detention in a secret villa turned into a prison. Several months have passed since Tina Jahanin, Latifa’s friend, has last heard any news about her friend Sheikha Latifa. Latifa - who is in custody in Dubai after trying to escape - had been in contact with Tina for a long time using a secret phone, but communications were suddenly cut off,” the petition read.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called on the United Nations to intervene in the case of Sheikha Latifa and to exert international pressure to release her after she said in recordings published by British media that she was "imprisoned." In the videos published by the BBC, Latifa says that she is being held in "a villa that has been turned into a prison" under police guard, and that she was tortured and imprisoned for three years when she tried to escape for the first time in 2002.
Sheikha Latifa said in the video, "I am worried about my safety and life every day and police officers told me that I will remain in prison my whole life and that I will never see the sun again," noting that "the situation is getting more desperate every day."
Neither the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Dubai government media office has commented on the case. After the recordings were published, a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights told the BBC that the commission would "raise this issue" to the UAE.
For his part, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the media that he was "concerned" about the videos; as the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said London would like to see evidence that Princess Latifa is still alive. "We are very concerned for her safety, as her friends say that all contact with her has stopped in recent months," said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Regional Director for Amnesty International. According to Maalouf, Sheikha Latifa may be held in a golden cage, but this does not change the fact that her deprivation of freedom is arbitrary.
Last year, the High Court in London accused Sheikh Mohammed of "masterminding and giving the order" to kidnap his daughter and forcibly return her to Dubai in 2002 and again in 2018. The ruler of Dubai and the authorities in the emirate responded that Latifa was safe and with her family.
The 15 MPs urged the UAE autoritæres to release Sheikha Latifa and provide an explination as to why she is held by the UAE authorities without a legal basis. They noted that detainees including UAE nationals or internationals held without a legal basis. They also called on the the British Government to collaborate with the UN to learn about the fate of Sheikha Latifa and question the UAE authorities about her whereabouts.
- Rt. Hon. Lord Foulkes of Cumnock.
- Rt Hon Lord Tyler.
- Sir Desmond Swayne, MP.
- Baroness (Ruth) Lister of Burtersett
- Baroness Golding.
- Baroness Jolly.
- Lord Freyberg.
- Mick Whitley, MP.
- Carla Lockhart, MP.
- Allan Dorans, MP.
- Mary Kelly Foy, MP.
- Marion Fellows, MP.
- Layla Moran, MP.
- Sammy Wilson, MP.
- Colum Eastwood MP.