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UN should seek release of Dubai princess and her sister, says Mary Robinson

Princess Latifa has called for police to reinvestigate the disappearance of her sister in 2000.

File image of Sheikha Laifa.
File image of Sheikha Laifa.
Image: Balkis Press/ABACA

FORMER PRESIDENT OF Ireland Mary Robinson has said the UN Office of the High Commissioner should “seek the release” of Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa and her sister. 

Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said last month that she was “horribly tricked” over a photo taken of her with Princess Latifa, the daughter of the Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum– who has said she is being held hostage by her father.

In February 2018, Princess Latifa Al Maktoum reportedly tried to flee Dubai, but her friends said that commandos stormed a boat carrying her off the coast of India.

It is claimed she was then brought back to the Emirates by her father. 

Amid increasing international concern for the woman’s welfare, in December 2018 Mary Robinson attended a family lunch on invitation from Dubai’s royal family, and was photographed with the princess.

Robinson has said she made a “mistake” and was “naive” in relation to the case.

Speaking to Euronews, Robinson said it is important now to focus on seeking the release of Latifa and her sister, princess Shamsa, who has been missing since 2000. 

“I think it’s actually very important now to support the Office of High Commissioner, the High Commissioner who has asked for proof of life and to actually go further with the mandates of the office and seek the release not just of Latifa, but also of her sister. That’s where the focus has to be,” she said.  

dubais-princess-latifa-claims-being-held-hostage-by-father Mary Robinson with Latifa in 2018. Source: ABACA/PA Images

In February, princess Latifa urged Cambridgeshire Police to reinvestigate the disappearance of her older sister, princess Shamsa.

Latifa said Shamsa was also captured by her father.

Shamsa, now 38, was abducted from the streets of Cambridge on August 19 2000 and has never been seen in public since. It is believed she was returned to the United Arab Emirates.

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Cambridgeshire Police previously confirmed “aspects” of their 2001 investigation – which found insufficient evidence to take any action – will be revisited, although the force insisted the investigation is no longer “active”.

Last week, a UN spokesman said it is yet to see evidence from the United Arab Emirates that Dubai’s Sheikha Latifa was still alive, a fortnight after seeking proof.

The United Nations Human Rights Office had asked for evidence about the daughter of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum after the BBC broadcast a video shot by Latifa saying she was being held captive and feared for her life.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the organisation has spoken to the UAE’s diplomatic mission in Geneva.

“We’ve held discussions with representatives of the UAE government here in Geneva, but I don’t have any particular progress to report,” he said.

With reporting by Press Association. 

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