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All Humans are Born Free but only UAE in Chains: story behind missing Dubai Princess’s online photo

Is the princess finally free or there is another controversy in hindsight?

An unverified Instagram account purportedly shows two photos of Dubai’s Sheikha Latifa published this week, months after the United Nations required proof if the royal was still alive.

The UN Human Rights Office asked for the evidence about the daughter of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in February. The UN was active about the royal after BBC broadcast a video shot by Latifa where she shared fear for life and confirmed that she was being held captive against her will.

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is one of the seven emirates.

Since a failed attempt to flee Dubai in March 2018, his 35-year-old daughter has not been seen in public.

On Saturday, one photo was posted on a public Instagram account showing the young royal with an unknown woman. The caption of the photo says, “Lovely food at Bice Mare with Latifa earlier.” The youth were dined at Bise mare, a restaurant in downtown Dubai.

Earlier this week, another picture was posted on the same account, apparently showing the Dubai Princess sitting at Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates (MoE), along with two other women.

Its caption read: “Lovely evening at MoE with friends.”

Despite media’s attempts to reach royal family, there is no information provided or comments made by the Dubai authorities. However, it’s believed that this appearance of a photo is not some random accident and is related to further undisclosed developments.

In a statement, David Haigh, co-founder of the Free Latifa campaign group, said: “We confirm that there have been several potentially significant and positive developments in the campaign. We do not intend to comment further at this stage, a further statement will be issued at the appropriate time.”

“Assuming that the photo is genuine, it shows proof of life, which is something, but nothing about the conditions of her confinement or her freedom.”

Kenneth Roth of the advocacy group Human Rights Watch told the BBC. 

In February 2018, Sheikh Latifa, one of the 25 children of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum attempted to escape from Dubai. She recorded a short video before leaving in which she explained that her life was heavily constricted. “I haven’t left the country since 2000. I’ve been asking a lot to just go travelling, to study, to do anything normal. They don’t let me.”

Her effort went in vain as commandos forcibly removed Latifa and returned her to Dubai from her eight days daring sea journey across the Indian Ocean.

Her father later considered this a “rescue mission”.

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