The government of Dubai has broken its silence on the case of its missing princess, saying she is safely back home and accusing a former French spy of her kidnap.
Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, tried to escape the country in March after complaining she was effectively being held prisoner by her repressive father.
She fled across the border to Oman with the help of a friend, before boarding a boat to meet French national Herve Jaubert, who had himself escaped the Emirates in 2008.
The boat set sail for the Indian coast but was intercepted by three Indian and two Emirati warships. Jaubert claimed that he and his crew were beaten by commandos before Latifa was whisked away.
Sheikha Latifa’s social media accounts, where she liked to share pictures and videos of herself skydiving, were shut down shortly afterwards.
Detained in Dubai, an international civil and criminal justice organisation, published a video sent from the 33-year-old princess in the event of her capture.
“My father is the most evil person I have ever met in my life,” she says tearfully in the video. “He’s pure evil. There’s nothing good in him.
“If you are watching this it’s not such a good thing, either I’m dead or I’m in a very, very bad situation.”
She has not been seen or heard from since.
“Her Highness Sheikha Latifa is now safe in Dubai,” read a statement released on Thursday by Dubai’s Royal Court. “She 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.”
It went on to claim Jaubert had taken her against her will and then demanded a $US100 million ($NZ145.4 million) ransom.
Jaubert could not be reached for comment.