Reported escape and capture of daughter of prominent equestrian sports figure subject of new documentary

Latifa al-Maktoum (at left)
Credit : Princess Latifa/BBC/Detained in Dubai

Wednesday 05 December - 11h57 | Ian Clayton

Reported escape and capture of daughter of prominent equestrian sports figure subject of new documentary

What has been described as the escape and subsequent state-driven abduction of the daughter of a high-profile figure in the equestrian sports world is the subject of a new BBC documentary. 

 - Reported escape and capture of daughter of prominent equestrian sports figure subject of new documentary

HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the 2012 World Endurance Championships
Credit : FEI

Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of the Missing Princess recounts the story of Princess Latifa, daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai's ruler and the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. 

The Sheikh, who was included in the Grand Prix 50 list of influential individuals in the equestrian world due to his prominent position in the problem-plagued endurance discipline and the horse racing world, is also married to Princess Haya bint Hussein (one of his spouses). Princess Haya is the former two-term president of the Fédération Équestre Internationale, the world governing body for Olympic equestrian sports, but is not the mother of Princess Latifa. 

According to a report on Princess Latifa in the British newspaper The Guardian, “An Emirati princess who disappeared after witnesses described her being seized by commandos on a yacht had spent seven years planning her failed escape bid from the Gulf state she considered a gilded prison, according to her friends.”

“The 32-year-old,” the report adds, “has not been seen or heard from since she was grabbed by armed men about 30 miles off the coast of India in early March, according to witnesses.” According to Guardian reporter Emma Graham-Harrison, Princess Latifa’s older sister is also alleged to have been abducted in Cambridge, England and returned to Dubai after leaving the family’s British estate.

“Latifa herself,” Graham-Harrison continues, “said in a video recorded before her escape bid that she had previously tried to leave the UAE aged 16 but was captured at the border, jailed for three years, beaten and tortured. That experience, and that of her sister, meant she was careful in planning a second bid for freedom.” For the full newspaper report, see here. 

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