The United Nations has said it will raise the detention of Princess Latifa, the daughter of Dubai’s ruler, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Princess Latifa has accused her father of holding her hostage in Dubai since she tried to flee the city in 2018.

In secretly recorded videos shared with the BBC, Princess Latifa said she feared for her life.

The footage prompted global calls for a UN investigation, while the UK said the videos were “deeply troubling”.

“We are concerned about it,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday.

He said the videos showed “a young woman in deep distress”, adding that the UK would watch any developments from the UN “very closely”

But when asked whether sanctions could be imposed, Mr Raab said: “It’s not clear to me that there would be the evidence to support that.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said the government was “concerned” but would “wait and see how [the UN] get on” with their investigation.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said it would soon question the UAE about Princess Latifa.

“We will certainly raise these new developments with the UAE,” spokesman Rupert Colville said. “Other parts of the UN human rights system with relevant mandates may also become involved once they have analysed the new material”.

Meanwhile, a spokesman said the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention could launch an investigation once Princess Latifa’s videos have been analysed.

Princess Latifa
image captionDubai’s Princess Latifa before her escape attempt in 2018

“We are hoping [a UN investigation] will be decisive in finally getting Princess Latifa released,” Rodney Dixon, a lawyer who presented the case to the UN, told the BBC.

“The UN needs to have a very serious meeting directly with those who are holding [her] and make sure an agreement is reached so she can be released,” he said.

Mr Dixon added: “The UN as the international body responsible for implementing international law can ensure that is exactly what happens.”

Princess Latifa’s father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is one of the richest heads of state in the world, the ruler of Dubai and vice-president of the UAE.

The UAE has close relations with a number of Western countries, including the US and UK, which consider it a strategic ally.

Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum (10 December 2019)
image captionSheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the 71-year-old billionaire ruler of Dubai

Sheikh Mohammed has built a hugely successful city but rights activists say there is no tolerance of dissent and the judicial system can discriminate against women.

With the help of friends, Princess Latifa tried to flee Dubai to start a new life in February 2018.

“I’m not allowed to drive, I’m not allowed to travel or leave Dubai at all,” she said in a video recorded just before her escape.

But days later, the princess was captured by commandos on a boat in the Indian Ocean. She was flown back to Dubai, where she has remained ever since.

Her father said he was acting in her best interests. Dubai and the UAE have previously said Princess Latifa was safe in the care of family.

Source:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-56093100

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