NEW DELHI: A UK family court on Thursday said Dubai’s princess Sheikha Latifa was captured off the Indian coast in an operation by special forces and taken back to Dubai in 2017. According to the judgment, Latifa was “abducted”, as was her sister Sheikha Shamsha, almost two decades ago in England. Latifa and her close friend-cum-fitness trainer Tiina Jauhiainen polotted the former’s escape from Dubai alleging captivity from the Emirati ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
Jauhiainen, a Finnish national, also testified in the ongoing case in England. “The last time (I saw her), she was kicking and screaming and she was dragged off the boat. Her pleas for asylum were also ignored,” she said. In an interview, the Finnish national also elaborated how she and Latifa had conspired their escape. According to the Finnish national, the duo had driven to the border of Oman from where they were supposed to take a dinghy to the ship to come to India. However, the fitness trainer said, the weather was not permitting them to take the dhingy and hence they used a water ski to reach the ship, from where they set off for their journey to Goa.
“We were captured off the coast of India after an operation by special forces and taken back to Dubai,” she had said in late January and added that after being in Indian forces’ custody for a while, they were handed over to the UAE forces. Speculations are rife that the capture of the princess was used as leverage by India with Dubai to secure the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistani forces after the Balakote airstrikes by the Indian Air Force.
It is also believed that Indian inputs to the UAE were instrumental in securing Shamsha in Cambridge.
“In making an overall assessment of the evidence relating to Latifa, I regard the evidence of Tiina Jauhiainen as being of singular importance,” judge Andrew McFarlane said. The Finnish national said the duo were inspired by former French Naval officer and spy Herve Jaubert’s book Escape from Dubai. She claimed that both Latifa and she had met Jaubert at a Dubai mall. “We would find a corner, we would switch off our mobile phones. So we were taking all the precautions,” she said.