Videos secretly recorded by Princess Latifa, daughter of Dubai’s ruler, were obtained from the BBC’s Panorama program and sent to friends after her attempted escape from the Middle East emirate in 2018 failed

Twenty years ago, her sister Princess Shamsa also tried to escape the ruling family while staying in the UK The governments of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates have failed to respond to requests from the BBC for comments on the current state of Latifa

July 2000

Princess Latifa’s older sister Shamsa escapes while on vacation with other members of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s family at her property in Surrey The Sheikh starts a search for her, but does not inform the police – his men track them down in Cambridge over a month later

In an email to their attorney , Shamsa says she was bundled up in a car by four Arab men and driven to her father’s house in Newmarket, &, comma where she was injected and given pills The next morning , She will be flown back to Dubai on a private plane

June 2002

Latifa makes her first escape attempt at the age of 16.She tries to cross the border between the United Arab Emirates and Oman but is caught and taken back to Dubai&comma where she has been detained for three years and four months She says she was held in solitary confinement and tortured


Latifa meets Tiina Jauhiainen, A fitness instructor hired to teach her a Brazilian martial art called capoeira. They become close friends. Latifa’s movements are restricted – she cannot have a passport; , drive or leave Dubai


Latifa contacts Herve Jaubert, A French businessman who successfully escaped Dubai years earlier after being convicted in absentia for embezzlement Over the next few years, They plan their escape in detail and Tiina Jauhiainen is hired as adjutant and mediator

Beginning of February 2018

Latifa takes a video documenting her life and plans. She calls it a “just in case” video and sends it to a group of trusted people with instructions to post it if the escape fails Restrictions under which it is in Dubai, her first escape attempt and her plan to leave Dubai and apply for asylum

24 February 2018

Latifa and Ms. Jauhiainen meet early in the morning and take a 42 km trip by rubber dinghy and jet ski to the international waters of &comma where Mr. Jaubert is waiting in a US flag yacht you plan to travel to India, from where Latifa is hoping to fly to the US and apply for political asylum

4th March 2018

Eight days after the start of the trip, just off the coast of India, Indian special forces board the boat. Latifa and Ms. Jauhiainen hide in the bathroom, but smoke grenades make it difficult for them to breathe and they make their way to the top of the deck. , where they are held at gunpoint Latifa is pulled from the boat Ms. Jauhiainen and the crew are held in a high security facility in the United Arab Emirates before being released two weeks later

11 March 2018

The anti-UAE advocacy group imprisoned in Dubai releases its video and Ms. Jauhiainen begins telling the world her story

5 December 2018

The day before a BBC documentary was released telling the story of Latifa’s escape attempt , The Dubai government issued a statement that Latifa and her sister Shamsa will be “adored and cherished” by the family saying that Latifa is now “safe in Dubai” and celebrating her birthday in “privacy and peace”

24 December 2018

The United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry released three photos of Latifa from a lunch on Nov. December with one of Sheikh Mohammed’s wives Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, and Mary Robinson, a former UN human rights officer This is the first time since the failed escape that anyone has seen Latifa

Three days later, Mary Robinson appears on the BBC’s Today Program where Princess Haya asked her to visit Latifa. She describes Latifa as a “troubled young woman” in receipt of “psychiatric care” “

She is immediately pushed back by the international human rights community, and campaign groups accuse her of treading the “Dubai Line”

Early 2019

Tiina Jauhiainen receives a message from a stranger who claims to be in contact with Latifa after Ms. Jauhiainen passed a series of security questions, She starts direct communication with Latifa and manages to get a phone to her

Latifa begins recording video messages describing the conditions under which she is being held: solitary confinement, The windows were closed and no daylight

In the months after the establishment of the telephone contact , Ms. Jauhiainen, her attorney David Haigh, and her maternal cousin, Marcus Essabri, are in daily contact with Latifa

April 2019

On 15 April , Princess Haya, the second “official wife” of Sheikh Mohammed, escapes Dubai with her two children &comma to Great Britain; Reportedly out of fear for their lives Haya, who became the sheikh’s sixth wife in April 2004, is his only spouse with a public profile, and is often seen with him at events around the world

14th May 2019

Sheikh Mohammed is initiating proceedings in the UK court to have his two children returned to Dubai with Princess Haya. Princess Haya is requesting that their children become Wards of Court, as well as a forced marriage order and an abuse order

5 March 2020

The UK High Court issued an investigative judgment finding that, regarding the balance of probabilities, , Sheikh Mohammed was responsible for the kidnapping and forced return of Shamsa and Latifa to Dubai. The judge rules that the Sheikh has launched an intimidation campaign against Haya and that he has not been open and honest with the court

Later in 2020

David Haigh realizes that the messages to Latifa are not getting through. Contact with her is lost

February 2021

In her first interview since the pictures of her and Latifa were published in 2018, , Mary Robinson says she and Princess Haya were tricked by the Sheikh , and that she is very worried about Latifa. She says she was blind when the UAE posted the photos of her and Latifa&comma and she admits she regrets not having seen Latifa on her own , or ask her about her condition

“I just want to be free,” says Princess Latifa, daughter of Dubai’s ruler, in video messages secretly taped from a villa where she was held after her failed escape in 2018

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Princess Latifa

World News – GB – Timeline of Princess Latifa: The failed escapes of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters