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Dubai ruler’s daughter ‘drugged, kidnapped and held hostage’ after fleeing

The daughter of the ruler of Dubai has accused her dad of holding her “hostage” after she tried to flee the country.

Princess Latifa Al Maktoum, 35, escaped in February 2018 but was forcibly returned the following month, it was ruled by London's High Court.

In video messages recorded on a mobile phone, she claimed soldiers drugged her as she fled by boat and dragged her back to Dubai.

The videos, obtained by BBC Panorama, show her crouched against the wall in a bathroom at the "villa jail" where she said she is being held.

She said: "I'm a hostage.

"And this villa has been converted into a jail.

"All the windows are barred shut, I can't open any window.

"I can't even go outside to get any fresh air.”

Last year London’s High Court found her dad, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, "ordered and orchestrated" the abduction and forced the return of the princess twice, in 2002 and 2018.

He is one of the richest heads of state in the world.

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In the videos, she added: "Every day I am worried about my safety and my life, I don't really know if I'm going to survive this situation.

"The police threatened me that I'll be in prison my whole life and I'll never see the sun again.

"I am really reaching a point now where I'm just getting so tired of everything. I just want to be free.”

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The BBC said she was guarded by around 30 police at the villa.

But the secret messages have since stopped and her friends are urging the United Nations to step in.

Sheikh Mohammed and the Dubai Royal Court have claimed she is safe in the loving care of her family.

The ruler had previously been pictured alongside the Queen at horse racing events due to their shared passion for the sport.

But the Queen was said to "distance herself" from him following the High Court ruling.

Her friend Tiina Jauhiainen, who helped her escape, said: "She is so pale, she hasn't seen sunlight for months.

"She can basically move just from her room to the kitchen and back."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the case was “concerning”, adding: "People just on a human level want to see that she is alive and well."

He told Sky News: "We have seen that the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights will be following up on what we have seen and we'll be watching and monitoring that very closely indeed."

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