Exclusive: Princess Latifa’s Instagram Account Taken Down ‘Against Her Will’ During Escape from UAE

Published July 19th, 2018 - 12:48 GMT
A screenshot of what appears to be Sheikha Latifa's last message, posted to her Instagram. Provided to Al Bawaba by Detained in Dubai.
A screenshot of what appears to be Sheikha Latifa's last message, posted to her Instagram. Provided to Al Bawaba by Detained in Dubai.

According to CEO of advocacy group ‘Detained in Dubai’ Radha Stirling, the Instagram account of the missing Sheikha Latifa al-Maktoum was taken down “against her will” while the Princess was attempting to escape the UAE. Speaking to Al Bawaba, Radha Stirling said:

“Sheikha Latifa’s Instagram account was taken down while she was on the yacht against her will.  We have written to Instagram to demand its reinstatement and note that it was live temporarily and then taken down again. We did however, manage to copy the entire content while it was reinstated.”

Sheikha Latifa is the daughter of the Emir of Dubai, and has been missing since March of this year. A recent documentary on CBS “60 Minutes Australia” has reignited interest on the location and human rights of Dubai’s missing Princess.

Detained in Dubai has provided Al Bawaba with this exclusive image from Sheikha Latifa’s Instagram account, before it was taken offline. The image, which Al Bawaba has been unable to authenticate, states that Latifa has been “trapped for 18 years and unable to leave.”

The post also claims that Latifa’s sister, Shamsa, ran away from the UAE at aged 18, during a holiday in England. When Princess Latifa attempted to do the same, she was “imprisoned and tortured for 3 years and 4 months.”



This desperate message from Latifa was seemingly published on Instagram during her time on a escape yacht somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Shortly after Latifa posted the message, the Instagram account was taken offline, for unknown reasons.

Social media firms have, in the past, had to choose between censoring content that angered governments, or losing their right to operate in the country in question. Al Bawaba has contacted Instagram for comment, and will update the story accordingly.

It appears Princess Latifa reached out to Detained in Dubai shortly after she boarded the yacht and attempted to sail away with friends, out of the Gulf and on to Goa in India. Radha Stirling initially assumed that the email she received from Latifa was a hoax. However, she became convinced that the story was true after looking at Latifa's verified Instagram account, with the username latifa_1, as well as receiving copies of Latifa's identity documents.

According to the CBS documentary, representatives in the UAE have confirmed off-the-record that the Princess was returned to the UAE. However, friends and supporters continue to fear for her safety given Latifa’s disturbing account of imprisonment and torture in Dubai on the orders of her own family.

The documentary included a detailed account of the Princess’s escape from the UAE. It re-enacted how Sheikha Latifa reportedly escaped from Dubai - by driving with her friend and personal trainer, Finnish national Tina Jauhianen, to the coast of Oman. They then made a perilous offshore journey by boat and jet ski into international waters, where they climbed aboard a yacht called the Nostromo, owned by a French national and former intelligence agent Hervé Jaubert.

They then set sail for Goa, India, from where the Princess intended to apply for political asylum in the United States. However, the yacht was raided, reportedly by Emirati forces and the Indian coast guard as they approached Goa. Jauhianen and Jaubert describe being violently restrained and then taken back to Dubai for interrogation. They say that Princess Latifa was dragged off the yacht, and she has not been seen or heard from since.

Al Bawaba has reached out to Instagram for more details on this developing story.

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