Princess Latifa recordings reveal 'Indian role'

Princess Latifa, the daughter of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has for the first time described how she was captured by Indian special forces three years ago on a yacht off the coast of India. She also described how, despite kicking and screaming that she was seeking political asylum, she was tranquillised and carried onto a private jet.

The Dubai royal has alleged in secret video recordings that between 12 and 15 Indian commandos dragged her to an Indian naval ship and then allowed a private jet to fly her in a drugged state to her father in Dubai.

It wrecked her dash to freedom from her restricted life in her country, reported The Telegraph.

Ms Latifa's video messages, apparently sent from the bathroom of the villa in Dubai where she says she is a prisoner fearing for her life, were broadcast on Tuesday on BBC TV's flagship Panorama programme.

In the first video footage seen of Ms Latifa since she was sent back to Dubai, the 35-year-old is heard describing how on March 4, 2018, two commandos sat on her to hold her down, how she was injected twice with what seemed like tranquillisers, how she bit an Emirati commando and how "generals" on a purported Indian naval ship ignored her pleas to let her go.

Ms Latifa's Finnish friend Tina Jauhiainen, who was on the yacht, described on the Panorama programme how they were both asleep when they heard noises on the upper deck which sounded like gunshots.

"The boat was taken over by Indian special forces. Latifa was lying on the floor and her hands were tied behind her back and she kept repeating 'I am seeking political asylum' but they were not listening," said Ms Jauhiainen.

Ms Latifa was taken to an Indian naval ship, the programme said. "The commandos carried me to a big room where there were four or five generals. I repeated that I want to get asylum and don't want to go to Dubai. Then I saw a private jet," said Ms Latifa.

Next an Emirati commando picked her up as she was kicking, so she bit him, she said. Another man tranquilised her again.

"They put me on a stretcher and I passed out as they carried me on to the jet. All I remember was the rocking and seeing the stairs and then I just passed out," she said. "When I woke up, the private jet had already landed in Dubai. I just felt really sad at that point. Working for so many years to get my freedom was gone. I have been in solitary confinement ever since without medical access."

A year later, Ms Jauhiainen managed to get a phone to her, reported The Times of India. Ms Latifa started to make videos locked in the bathroom of a Dubai villa where, she said, she was held hostage, guarded by police officers.

Several months ago the messages Ms Jauhiainen sent were not received by Ms Latifa. This spurred her to release the videos to Panorama.

The revelations ended with a note from the BBC: "The Government of India has still never commented on its involvement in the events of March 2018."

On Wednesday the United Nations said it would raise the developments with the UAE government.


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