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The princess daughter of Dubai’s ruler who claimed she was being held “hostage” and feared for her life has been photographed appearing to enjoy a carefree “holiday” in Spain — pausing an international campaign to rescue her.
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, 35, had raised the alarm in February in a series of dramatic videos, whispering, “I’m a hostage … I am worried about my safety and my life.”
The unsettling clips sparked demands from international leaders, with the United Nations human rights office demanding “proof of life” from the United Arab Emirates, of which her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is the vice president and prime minister.
But the princess has now appeared in an Instagram image posted Sunday by a British teacher who is known to be a friend.
“Great European holiday with Latifa. We’re having fun exploring! 😃,” Sioned Taylor wrote of the image of Latifa’s arm around her shoulder.
In the comments, she confirmed that the image — in which they both wore masks — was taken in Spain’s Madrid-Barajas airport and that Latifa was doing “great.”
Many commentators suggested the image was a hoax or taken under duress. But “Free Latifa,” a campaign group that has been fighting to help her, confirmed to the Times of London that it had “put on hold all campaigning activities.”
“We are pleased to see Latifa seemingly having a passport, traveling and enjoying an increasing degree of freedom, these are very positive steps forward,” co-founder David Haigh also told Reuters.
“I can also confirm that several of the campaign team have been contacted directly by Latifa,” he said, declining to give further details.
However, a source close to Princess Latifa’s lawyers insisted to Reuters that questions remained over her level of freedom and whether she would be forced to return to Dubai.
The United Arab Emirates foreign ministry and the Dubai government’s media office did not respond to requests for comment, Reuters said.
With Post wires
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