Dubai rulers slam BBC’s ‘regrettable’ documentary on ‘missing princess’ Latifa and insist she’s enjoying ‘privacy and peace’
- United Arab Emirates has broken its silence regarding the ‘missing princess’
- Dubai Ruler’s Court said she celebrated her 33rd birthday with family
- The BBC documentary has been criticised for intruding on her private life
A daughter of Dubai’s ruler who was snatched from a yacht after trying to flee and has not been seen from since is ‘safe’ with her family, it has been claimed.
Dubai Ruler’s Court said Princess Latifa Maktoum celebrated her 33rd birthday with her family this week and they are ‘deeply saddened’ by speculation regarding her whereabouts.
In an extraordinary statement, a spokesman lambasted the BBC for making a documentary ‘intruding’ on her private life.
The BBC documentary, which includes those with her during her doomed escape, was due to be broadcast last night (thur).
Princess Latifa Maktoum (pictured above) was seen training for her escape in February this year
It is the first time the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has broken its silence on the speculation surrounding Latifa after she went missing on March 5.
The statement came as footage showed her training for her escape by swimming in a plush pool in scuba gear on February 12.
The princess later attempted to flee her ‘gilded prison’ with the help of a former French spy, Herve Jaubert, and her Finnish marital arts teacher.
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The footage was filmed by her teacher, Tiina Jauhiainen, who also joined her on the mission – first driving into neighbouring Oman before sailing to India.
She told Sky News: ‘At this point the plan for Latifa’s escape was still for her to dive using a rebreather, diving gear, dive computer and an underwater scooter from UAE to Oman crossing the border…a distance of nearly 10 km underwater.
‘Training was a problem. One time we managed to go to her uncle’s beach house to practise but visibility was so bad that she couldn’t try out all the gear simultaneously.
The Princess (left) escaped with Ms Jauhiainen (right) and planned to start a new life in America but three weeks into her escape bid, their yacht Nostromo was surrounded by Indian forces
‘This time I was allowed to go inside her compound to “exercise” but actually the plan was to test the gear.’
She had contacted Mr Jaubert years earlier asking him for help after she had read about him escaping from the country, he has said.
Latifa was last seen on March 5 being dragged into a rubber boat by Indian and Emirati forces, according to those who were with her.
Princess Latifa Maktoum’s Identity Card (pictured above) which states her full name as Sheikha Latifa Mohd Rashed Almaktoum
But in a statement issued late on Wednesday, Dubai Ruler’s Court claimed that Latifa was ‘vulnerable to exploitation’ by Mr Hauve, who had a criminal record.
He and his ‘accomplices’ demanded payment of a ransom of $100million shortly after she disappeared for her return, it was claimed.
A spokesman from the Dubai Ruler’s Court said: ‘This private family matter has caused significant upset and distress for all concerned, most of all Sheikha Latifa.’
Amnesty International had accused the Arab Kingdom of the kidnapping of the Princess (pictured above)
It said she was ‘adored and cherished’ by their family and was now safe in Dubai.
‘She and her family are looking forward to celebrating her birthday today, in privacy and peace, and to building a happy and stable future for her’, it was said.
The Dubai Ruler’s Court said the decision to broadcast the BBC documentary would cause ‘harm and discomfort’.
Miss Jauhiainen had told the BBC that on the day of the escape Latifa changed her clothes and sunglasses, and the pair crossed into Oman.
They then headed out into international waters by inflatable boat and jet ski to meet Mr Jaubert in a yacht flying the US flag.
The trio set sail for India, where Latifa hoped to claim political asylum in the US, but were stopped by armed men just 30 miles from the coast and taken back to Dubai.
She has not been seen from since and her Instagram account was closed down.
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