Middle East

Dubai missing princess: Call for clarity on status of Sheikha Latifa

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Media captionWhat happened to Dubai's Sheikha Latifa?

Human Rights Watch has urged the Dubai authorities to reveal the whereabouts of a missing princess.

Sheikha Latifa - the daughter of the Emirate's ruler - is said to have tried to flee in March in order to live a freer life abroad.

But witnesses say the luxury yacht she was travelling on was intercepted off India, and she was returned to Dubai. She has not been seen since.

Dubai's authorities say they cannot comment for legal reasons.

Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was snatched while trying to escape the country, according to reports.

A BBC Newsnight investigation, which was broadcast on Friday, claimed she had received the help of a former French spy and a Finnish martial arts instructor.

On Saturday, Human Rights Watch said Dubai's authorities needed to "reveal" her location and "clarify her legal status".

"Failure to disclose the whereabouts and status of the princess could qualify as an enforced disappearance," the campaign group said in a statement.

"Sheikha Latifa, who told friends that she wished to flee restrictions imposed by her family, has not been seen or heard from for two months, raising serious concerns about her safety and well-being."

Detained in Dubai, a UK-based group, said Sheikha Latifa was intercepted on 4 March less than 80 km (50 miles) off the coast of India.

The Dubai authorities told the BBC that those making the claims about her disappearance had a record of criminal activity.

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