Tiina Jauhiainen, Emirati Princess Latifa’s best friend, has asked Queen Elizabeth II to intervene after the princess claimed she is being held “hostage” in a villa and fears for her life.
“I am humbly calling upon you to use whatever influence you have with your friend, Sheikh Mohammed, to persuade him to grant Latifa and her older sister Shamsa their wish for freedom or, at least, to supply proof they are still alive”, Jauhiainen said in an open letter to the British monarch published by the Daily Mail on Sunday.
Latifa’s older sister Shamsa was reportedly abducted from Cambridge in 2000 and has not been publicly seen since then.
Referring to the Queen “commanding universal respect”, Jauhiainen expressed hope that the monarch’s “intervention could help bring the ordeal of these two women to an end”.
Jauhiainen has been friends with Princess Latifa since she was hired by the royal family as a martial arts instructor in 2010.
Her personal plea to Queen Elizabeth comes a few days after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in London argued that the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is being “cared for at home”.
“Her family has confirmed that Her Highness is being cared for at home, supported by her family and medical professionals”, the embassy said, adding that a video of the princess that circulated earlier in the media and her alleged predicament were “not reflective of the actual position”.
Video of Princess Latifa in ‘Villa-Jail’
Earlier this week, the BBC broadcast a secretly recorded footage of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, in which she claims that she was being held in a villa against her own will. According to the footage, which has not been independently verified, the villa “had been converted into jail”.
Neither the UAE government nor 71-year-old Sheikh Mohammed commented on the video, but in 2018 the UAE said that Princess Latifa was “at home and living with her family in Dubai”, publishing photographs of her having dinner with former Irish President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.
The video’s release was followed by Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab demanding that the ruler of Dubai provide proof that his daughter Princess Latifa is “alive and well”.
“When there’s a human rights issue or a very sensitive case we do not shirk our responsibilities”, Raab added.
Following the release of the footage, the United Nations also urged the UAE to provide evidence that the princess is safe and sound.
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum has not been publicly seen since she attempted to flee her home country in 2018, managing to reach India’s west coast via Oman. However, she was reportedly tracked down and captured by Indian forces, who handed her over to the UAE.