Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fancy Some Winter Sun? Vanished Latifa's Escape Bid Might Put You off Dubai for Good

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fancy Some Winter Sun? Vanished Latifa's Escape Bid Might Put You off Dubai for Good

Article excerpt

Byline: David Sexton The Viewer

Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of the Missing Princess BBC Two, 9pm I'VE always thought I'd rather holiday in a decent open prison than in Dubai. Or a broom cupboard, if it came to that. This startling documentary has only confirmed me in that resolution. Anybody seduced by the ad campaigns promising beautiful beach life, luxury restaurants, must-visit hammams, stateof-the-art shopping malls and worldclass water parks should watch.

In February this year, Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, one of the 30 children of the billionaire ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, tried to escape from the country on a yacht. She set a course for India, from where she hoped to fly to America to start a new life.

Instead, the US-flagged boat was boarded in international waters by armed men. She was seized and apparently returned to the UAE and has not been heard from since.

A few days before setting off, Latifa, 32, had recorded a long statement about her life on video, for release in the event that she didn't make it. Five days after her capture it was put up on YouTube.

Now producer and director Jane Mc-Mullen (whose credits include the expose Weinstein, and North Korea's Deadly Dictator, about the assassination of Kim Jong-nam) has interwoven this footage with a clear account of how and why the escape was attempted.

She uses interviews with French exnaval officer Herve Jaubert, who devised the escape plan and captained the yacht, and Latifa's best friend, a sporty Finnish woman called Tiina Jauhiainen, who was accompanying her.

Latifa and Tiina had been sky-diving partners the princess's love for this sport even having been publicised as proof of the freedoms available to women in Dubai. The documentary is much enhanced by vivid footage of her falling free, high above the extraordinary layout of the city, including the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago: an incredible image of liberation that makes a graphic contrast to the grim story of constraint and confinement she delivers herself to the camera. …

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