Don’t be fooled by influencers’ lockdown-flaunting bikini snaps and lavish Dubai dinners. There is something more sinister at play in the UAE.

Princess Latifa, one of UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s 30 children, claims she is  trapped in solitary confinement in Dubai.

In a haunting video, Latifa has accused her father of holding her hostage in Dubai since she tried to flee the city in 2018.

She claims she her father is holding her in a guarded villa, thought to be near to Dubai’s luxury Jumeirah area where influencers are obliviously enjoying their holidays.

The footage shows the Princess cowering against a bathroom wall, whilst recording a video message on her phone camera.

She says of her father: “He’s the most evil person I’ve ever met in my life.”

UN investigation

The disturbing video has sparked global calls for a UN investigation.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are concerned about it,”

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

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said it will investigate and plans to question the UAE about the missing Princess.

Escape plan

Spokesman Rupert Colville said: “We will certainly raise these new developments with the UAE.”

Lawyer Rodney Dixon, who presented the case to the UN, said: “We are hoping [a UN investigation] will be decisive in finally getting Princess Latifa released,”

“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.

Three years ago, with the help of her friend Tiina Jauhiainen, Latifa tried to flee Dubai. The pair drove to Oman and from there, travelled on jet skis to a waiting yacht. They set sail for India, but the yacht was stormed by commandos.

Free Latifa

In the latest video, Latifa has claimed they tranquillised her whilst she was trying to fend them off.

She said about one of her captors: “He grabs me. Lifts me up. Kicking and fighting, he’s much bigger than me. So I see that his sleeve is rolled up and arm exposed. I had one shot. Bit as hard as I can, and shake my head. And he screamed.

“This guy came with a small pouch and he took out the needle and he injected me in my arm.”

Latifa’s friend Tiina formed ­a campaign group called Free Latifa, and took the case to the UN. She was finally able to get in contact with the Princess in 2019.

‘Fight for her’

Tiina was the person that encouraged Latifa to make the video messages and made the decision to release the tapes to the media.

Tiina said: “We haven’t taken this decision lightly, there’s been some sleepless nights thinking about this. But it’s time to do something.

“I feel that she would want us to fight for her, and not give up.”

Quite right. People need to know that Dubai isn’t all palm trees and luxury malls – no matter what Instagram might tell us.

Image via Alamy.