UAE needs to provide evidence Princess Latifa is still alive, Raab says

Liam JamesWed, 17 February 2021, 8:51 am

 (Princess Latifa/BBC)
(Princess Latifa/BBC)

The UK has said it wants to see proof that Princess Latifa, daughter of the ruler of Dubai, is still alive after she said she was being held against her will in “deeply troubling” new footage.

Asked if he would support seeing some kind of proof from the UAE that Latifa was alive, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, told Sky News: “Given what we’ve just seen, I think people would just at a human level want to see that she’s alive and well, of course, I think that’s a natural instinct and we would certainly welcome that.”

He told the BBC the video, obtained by the network’s Panaroma programme, was “deeply troubling”, and that Britain was concerned by it and would follow the developments from the United Nations, which said it would question the UAE about Princess Latifa.

“I have always raised human rights issues, I always do, with foreign ministers, with the ambassadors,” the foreign secretary told Sky News.

“I think the right thing given what the United Nations has said is to follow very closely, and we are obviously always supportive of, the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights.”

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights suggested it would raise questions over the video with the UAE and a spokesperson said an investigation could be launched by the the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention after the videos have been analysed.

In footage aired on BBC Panorama on Tuesday, Princess Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum – whose father Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is ruler of Dubai and vice president of the United Arab Emirates – said she was “hostage” in a villa in the UAE capital.

On BBC’s Today programme on Wednesday, Mr Raab was asked if the UK was planning action such as asset freezes or travel bans on individuals thought to be involved. He replied: “It’s not the case we can’t just willy nilly put sanctions on individuals.”

Asked if Sheikh Rashid was welcome in the UK in light of the footage, Mr Raab said: “We keep engaged with all of our partners and indeed that’s the way we raise issues of concern, whether it’s human rights or otherwise.”