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A 'runaway princess' from the United Arab Emirates claims to have fled the emirate of Dubai in an attempt to make a life for herself, in a video recorded prior to her leaving the country.
Sheikah Latifa Mohammed Al Maktoum - who claims to be the daughter of UAE prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - says she is not free to live her own life in Dubai and was secretly imprisoned for years after she previously tried to escape, the Mail Online reports.
In a video uploaded to YouTube, presumably filmed in a hotel room, the woman calmly explained her reasons for fleeing the country, saying she was even drugged by doctors in an attempt to stop her causing trouble.
"I do not have the freedom that people have. Freedom of choice is not something we have," Latifa says in the video, uploaded to YouTube and acquired by UAE justice specialists Detained in Dubai.
"I am very restricted, and cannot even go to another emirate without permission. I have not left Dubai since 2000."
In the video, Latifa claims to be one of the sheikh's 30 daughters with one of his less well-known six wives, saying that she has an assigned driver and is not even allowed to keep her own passport.
She says that after trying and failing to flee the country aged 16, her experiences led her to mistrust people, preferring to spend time with animals instead.
"I did not have anyone I trusted," she says. "It took me years to recover from that experience."
In the 39-minute-long video, Latifa listed details about herself such as her school and her hobbies - such as horse riding and skydiving - in an attempt to verify her identify.
She ends the video by confirming that she has made up her mind to leave and expressing hope for the future, although she looks quietly worried.
"I am looking forward to a better life, a start of new chapter in my life. There is no reason to stay in Dubai and no reason to come back here," Latifa says.
"If I don't make it out, I hope that some change will come."
After receiving contact from Latifa, Detained by Dubai sought to verify her claims, obtaining a passport bearing her name which states she is indeed a member of Dubai's ruling family.
It is believed that Latifa left the Arab state with the help of former French spy Hervé Jaubert and went into hiding on a yacht off the coast of southern India, planning to seek asylum in the United States.
On 5 March the London-based organisation contacted Scotland Yard, reporting the pair as missing. It claimed to have received a 'harrowing call' from Latifa reporting men outside and gunshots.
The organisation now believes that Latifa has been kidnapped and returned to the UAE against her will. It has now instructed lawyers to file an urgent complaint with the United Nations requesting their immediate intervention.
"Our ambition is to see the safe release of both Hervé & Latifa and we welcome offers of assistance in this effort," the organisation's CEO Radha Stirling said in a statement.
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