Tiina Jauhiainen hadn’t heard from her beloved friend for a few exhausting months. She is thinking about what could trouble Princess Latifa now, after being confined in Dubai.
According to the last few phone calls, Princess Latifa was punished for trying to escape and since then, she was kept hostage. She managed to share her whereabouts with her friend by using a secret phone. But, that has changed too. Suddenly, Tiina stopped getting calls from her friend.
When Tiina last saw Princess Latifa, they were enjoying a staggering starry view from the deck of the yacht, traveling across the Indian Ocean.
In 2018, they tried to help Latifa escape from Dubai so that she could start a new life abroad.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the father of 25 children, has converted the Emirate into a progressive city to enhance its tourism and livelihood. But the stringent laws show no mercy o Emirati women.
“I haven’t left the country since 2000. I’ve been asking a lot to just go traveling, to study, to do anything normal. They don’t let me. I need to leave.”
When she was at Tiina’s apartment, she cheerfully said, “I’m feeling positive about the future. I don’t know how I’ll feel just waking up in the morning and thinking I can do whatever I want today. I’m really looking forward to that.”
Princess Latifa lost the validity of her passport and was chaperoned thoroughly. Tiina drove her to the coast of Oman and several moments later, they were on international waters. By the evening they reached the yacht which was supposed to carry them to freedom.
The escape went wrong when armed men came on the boat and “Latifa was screaming and kicking. She kept saying ‘don’t take me back to the UAE. Just shoot me here’,” Tiina said.
She described her trauma saying, He grabs me. Lifts me up. Kicking and fighting, he’s much bigger than me. So I see that his sleeve is rolled up and arm exposed. I had one shot. Bit as hard as I can, and shake my head. And he screamed.”
Later the 35-year-old princess made a video from her bathroom. “I’m doing this video from a bathroom because this is the only room with a door I can lock. I’m a hostage. I am not free. I’m enslaved in this jail. My life is not in my hands.”
In December, Latifa was allowed to have lunch with her stepmother Haya. “It was all a setup. It was like they tricked me,” Latifa says. Haya moved to the UK because she felt unsafe there.
Her cousin Marcus said, “Every day was a struggle for her, and you could hear that in her voice. I know she was tired, I know her health was not the best.” When Tiina and Marcus realized that Latifa is not released, they released some of her videos.