A mystery 'runaway princess' has claimed to have fled Dubai in an attempt to live a normal life.
The woman, who says she is the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum — the country's billionaire ruler — claims she doesn't have the freedom to live her own life in Dubai — and was secretly detained in prison for three years after a previous failed escape attempt as a teenager.
Sheikah Latifa Mohammed Al Maktoum claims she was drugged in hospital by doctors to stop her rebelling and causing trouble.
Latifa, 33, who says she is one of 30 children the wealthy ruler of Dubai has with six wives, has left the strict Arab state, she claims, with the help of a former French spy.
Latifa is understood to be hiding on a yacht off the coast of southern India and is expected to seek political asylum in the United States where she had made contact with a lawyer.
Prior to leaving she recorded an emotional video explaining in shocking details her reasons for wanting to escape.
She claims she has not been allowed to leave the country since 2000, is not allowed to drive and has her movements monitored round the clock.
Even though she is in her 30s, Latifa says he has to adhere to a strict curfew and doesn't have the freedom others enjoy in the country that is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Sheikh Mohammed, 68, the patriarch is on close speaking terms with the Queen over their shared passion for horse racing and meet at Royal Ascot each year.
As well as the video she also sent a series of increasingly desperate voice messages outlining her reasons for fleeing.
In one message sent on the WhatsApp encrypted system she claims to be living in fear of being captured and taken back to the country.
Her father, the 68-year-old patriarch, is on close speaking terms with the Queen as over their shared passion for horse racing and meet at Royal Ascot each year.
But while he is well known on the horse racing circuit his family life in Dubai is a closely-guarded secret.
Latifa says she is the daughter of one of the less well-known wives of the Sheikh.
US registered yacht.
He told Detained in Dubai he was with Latifa and expressed his fear they would be intercepted.
Latifa, who gives her date of birth as December 5th 1985, says she decided to flee the country after seeing how her elder sister attempted to escape in 2001.
Shamsa al Maktoum was 18 years old when she allegedly went missing from the fabulously wealthy Surrey estate where the Maktoum family lived, according to reports at the time.
Latifa said her sister had wanted to break free and was 'on the run' for two months.
A news report from 2001 said police launched an investigation into her alleged abduction from a street in Cambridge after being contacted by a solicitor acting for the teenager.
The police investigation was eventually closed down.
Latifa said she wanted to get help for her sister and in June 2002 she attempted to flee from Dubai but only got as far as the Oman border when she was detained. She claimed she was brought back to Dubai against her will.
Latifa said she repeatedly asked to see her elder sister and she became so hysterical and upset that doctors had to sedate her.
'It got to point where they had to tranquilize me', she says.
'They got a doctor to tranquilize me and then put me in hospital and tranquilized again I spent one week in hospital and lost my voice from so much screaming and lost a few days from all the medicines.
Latifa claims she was subsequently jailed for three years and four months and immediately wanted to leave the country with the help of sympathetic friends.
But she decided to stay in Dubai to be close to her sister who she claims is medicated so much that she has no control over her life.
Latifa said she made the decision to seek a new life abroad last year after realizing she can no longer help her sister who she claims is monitored round the clock and has no access to the outside world.
A news report from the time of the abduction and published in The Guardian newspaper under the headline 'Strange case of the sheikh's daughter.
It went on to detail how police in Cambridge shire received a call about an alleged kidnapping with a woman claiming to be the Sheikh's daughter Shamsa describing how she was abducted against her will.
Attempts to reach the Maktoum family by the newspaper failed and the article says it is not clear if any offense was actually committed.
Her reported father, who is best known in Britain for being one of the top racehorse owners, is credited with turning Dubai into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
He succeeded his brother in 2006 to become the ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.
Maktoum's greatest passion is horse racing and he is the owner of the Godolphin stables, which has produced some of the leading thoroughbreds in the sport.
Estimated to have a personal fortune of 15 Billion, in the last 15 years he has transformed Dubai into one of the most modern cities in the world.
Maktoum was behind the Palm Islands, Burj Al-Arab hotel, Burj Khalifa skyscraper that dominates the skyline of the city.
He also helped start Emirates airlines, sponsors of Arsenal and Paris St Germaine football teams. His first marriage was in 1979 and later wed the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan.