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Campaigners voice concerns over Dubai princess

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Campaigners voice concerns over Dubai princess

Campaigners have voiced concern after former UN human rights chief Mary Robinson said Dubai Princess who tried to flee the United Arab Emirates was "clearly troubled".

“Princess Latifa bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who tried to flee the United Arab Emirates months ago, is a troubled young woman”, a former UN human rights chief said on Thursday after meeting her last week.

Robinson met with Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, for lunch in the UAE earlier this month and the authorities there released pictures of the meeting this week.

Mary Robinson told BBC radio 4’s Today programme that she had been invited by Princess Haya, the wife of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, to help with his daughter, Sheikha Latifa.

Latifa has not been seen in public since she was captured at sea off India in March after leaving the UAE.

In a YouTube video at the time, she said she was leaving because of restrictions imposed on her by her father.

Robinson, who was seen alongside Latifa in photographs released by the UAE authorities earlier this month, said that she had been asked to “help with a family dilemma”.

However, despite the assurances given by Robinson, serious concerns are still held by campaigners over Sheikha Latifa’s fate.

"Was she like that before attempting to escape her gilded prison or only after the UAE forcibly returned her there?" Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, asked on Twitter.

"The only certain thing is that a quick lunch won't provide the answer," he wrote.

Radha Stirling, head of the campaign group Detained in Dubai, said Robinson "appeared to be reciting almost verbatim from Dubai's script".

Stirling said that Robinson's comments "reveal nothing concrete about Latifa's condition and serve only to promote Dubai's attempt to avoid any serious enquiry".

"We are very happy that Latifa is alive but are cognizant of the fact that she herself said that she would rather die than be returned to her father's custody and thus continue to have grave concerns about her welfare," Stirling said.

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