This undated image from video provided by a London-based advocacy group shows Sheikha Latifa, a daughter of Dubai's ruler.(AP Photo)
This undated image from video provided by a London-based advocacy group shows Sheikha Latifa, a daughter of Dubai's ruler.(AP Photo)

Indian connection to UK court order on Dubai princess

Princess Latifa had planned her great escape together with her fitness trainer and a former French naval officer and spy.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2020 03:54 PM IST

A British judge ruled on Thursday that Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum ordered the abduction of two of his daughters and orchestrated a campaign of intimidation against his former wife.

Judge Andrew McFarlane said he accepted as proved a series of allegations made by Mohammed’s former wife, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, 45, half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah, during a custody battle over their two children at London’s High Court.

Princess Latifa, one of the daughter of the Dubai ruler, had planned her great escape from Dubai, and the eventual plan was like a plot from a movie.

According to news agency Reuters, Princess Latifa had confided in her fitness trainer and Finnish national Tiina Jauhiainen and asked her to contact former French naval officer and spy Herve Jaubert who had written the book “Escape from Dubai”. It took six months for them to plot the escape.

On February 24, 2018, Latifa was dropped off by her driver at a cafe in downtown Dubai where she and Jauhiainen had been meeting regularly for breakfast. Inside, she went to the bathroom to change her clothes, dumped her mobile phone and the pair set off on a six-hour drive from Dubai through Oman to its coastal capital Muscat, according to Reuters.

She then took a dinghy and rode jet skis to a waiting boat which was to take the princess and her companion to freedom. They were heading to Goa.

But on March 4, they were intercepted by commando units from India and the United Arab Emirates, Jauhiainen said.

“We had Indian coastguard boats surrounding us, there were helicopters, aeroplanes, the whole boat was filled with smoke,” she told Reuters. “They looted the boat, they beat the crew. Latifa was kidnapped kicking and screaming and the rest of us were kidnapped as well and taken to UAE.”

Jaubert said he captained the vessel and witnessed the raid. He said Indian navy commandos attacked and Latifa was taken off the boat by an Emirati officer. He added that he was beaten for 45 minutes, but did not specify by whom.

Reuters tried to contact Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, but he did not respond to a request for comment on India’s alleged role in the operation.

Princess Haya had described this incident to the British judge who upheld her allegation that Latifa, who’s now 35, was abducted by an armed Indian commando team at sea, reported Bloomberg.

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