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Nine months ago, a Princess disappeared. This is why.

In February 2018 Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum allegedly tried to escape Dubai.

The now 33-year-old says she boarded a boat in the hope that she could get to India, and eventually seek freedom in the United States.

Within days, the boat was stormed and the princess was taken, not to be heard from since.

Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum II is one of the daughters of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates.

In preparation for her possible death or kidnapping following her escape, the princess made a video of her plan. She sent it to a trusted lawyer, who released the footage to YouTube following her alleged capture.

“If you’re watching this video, it’s not such a good thing. Either I’m dead, or I’m in a very very very bad situation,” she says in the video.

Nine months on, her ultraconservative family have spoken.

In a statement from the court of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, it says the princess is “safe”.

“Her Highness Sheikha Latifa is now safe in Dubai,” said the statement from the court of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

“(Latifa) 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.”

In a statement to Sky News, the princess’ lawyers said that they are concerned by the statement.

“If it is that Sheikha Latifa is with her family, and that this is a family matter for which she seeks no public concern, then why is she prevented from communicating this publicly, or to any individual that she considers to be a friend,” they told the publication.

“The only conclusion that can be drawn is that Sheikha Latifa remains detained against her will,” they added.

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For many, the idea of a princess escaping doesn’t make sense, especially given the luxurious connotations of being a royal.

But it appears that Princess Latifa’s life in Dubai is far from luxurious.

In late February Latifa reportedly contacted British NGO Detained in DubaiShe claimed that she had been suffering from severe abuse and restrictions of personal freedom, and that she was going to attempt to escape the country.

Initially, the NGO believed the email to be a hoax. But according to a statement on the website, just days later, the CEO Radha Stirling received a Whatsapp message.

It was from Hervé Jaubert, a French spy who said the princess and her friend were aboard his yacht, and that he was helping them escape Dubai.

In the following three days, the NGO remained in contact with Jaubert and Latifa.

Then, devastation rocked the yacht. Jaubert told Detained in Dubai that the boat was seized, with staff being blindfolded, and that the princess was taken.

The princess allegedly told Stirling that her father, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had beaten, tortured, threatened, and drugged her whilst detaining her in solitary confinement for three years.

The reason? She tried to escape Dubai once before, when she was 16-years -old, a story she tells in detail in the video she released.

In the description for the video on YouTube, it claims the princess was last heard from on March 4, on a boat near Goa, India.

The case has been accepted by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

If you or someone you care about is living with family violence please call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for further information.

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