On Monday’s Four Corners is a BBC report on Princess Latifa Al Maktoum, who escaped oppression in Dubai.
Hello, my name is Latifa Al Maktoum… My father is the Prime Minister of UAE and the ruler of Dubai.'” Princess Latifa Al Maktoum
Most Australians had probably never heard of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum till his horse Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup last year after a two-decade campaign. Now he’s in the headlines again, for a very different reason.
“If you are watching this video, it’s not such a good thing. Either I’m dead or I’m in a very, very, very bad situation.” Princess Latifa
Last year, his daughter, the Princess Latifa, then aged 32, ran away to escape a life of regal confinement in the hyper wealthy financial hub and tourist destination of Dubai. She took the precaution of recording a video, with instructions to release it if anything happened to her.
“They will for sure try to discredit this video and say it’s a lie or it’s an actress or something.” Princess Latifa
After fleeing first by car and then jetski, Latifa was dramatically re-captured on a boat in international waters by armed men.
“They put a gun to my face, they told me ‘close your eyes or I kill you’.” Captain
In heart stopping interviews, those on-board recount how the events unfolded.
“She continued screaming and kicking and trying to get away. And that’s the last time I’ve seen my friend.” Friend
Far from silencing her, Latifa’s capture and forced return to Dubai has focused world attention on the dark side of the gleaming desert metropolis.
“This is a country that has designed itself to be both the glittering diamond for the world, but it’s absolutely one of the most repressing countries in the region.” Human rights researcher
This gripping film from the BBC also investigates the story of Latifa’s sister Shamsa. She too was recaptured after going on the run in Britain.
“Kidnap is a major offence, and it’s not every day that an allegation involving a head of state lands on a police officer’s desk.” British Detective Police Inspector
The program examines how Dubai’s ruler has been able to bring pressure to bear based on his country’s financial and defence ties.
“They have so much political leverage, they have been so clever in their public relations campaign, in developing an image of their city and of their country. They know they can get away with disappearing her.” Human rights activist
8:30pm Monday on ABC.