Lawyer for missing Dubai princess urges UAE to release her

The attorney for a daughter of Dubai’s ruler urges the Gulf emirate to release the young woman from almost three years of detention and avoid further international scandal after a videotaped plea for freedom spurred the UN’s human rights body to seek information about her status.

The case of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum made international headlines Tuesday after the BBC released excerpts from video diaries she said were recorded in a locked bathroom inside the Dubai villa where she is being held. Sheikha Latifa was detained by commandos off the coast of India in 2018 after she tried to flee Dubai in a yacht.

Sheikha Latifa, 35, hasn’t been heard from since she stopped responding to text messages six months ago, friends told the BBC. She is the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the hereditary ruler of Dubai who also serves as prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates

Rodney Dixon, a London-based attorney for Sheikha Latifa, plays down calls for international sanctions, saying he hopes the videos will persuade authorities in Dubai to release the young woman who says she just wants to be free. Dixon helped secure the release of a British researcher who was jailed in the UAE on spying charges in 2018.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum of Dubai in a video aired by the BBC on February 16, 2021. (Screen capture: YouTube)

“Of course, steps can be taken to, as I’ve said before, look to impose sanctions, take other actions,” Dixon tells The Associated Press. “But why go down that route when we have a simple solution here which should be followed right away. Why protract it any longer, getting involved in legal avenues, litigation? This never ultimately benefits anyone over the long term. Better to sort it out right now and do the right thing.”

The case is particularly sensitive in Britain because of economic and historic links to Dubai and the UAE, which has large reserves of oil and natural gas.

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