Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum: who is the Dubai ruler and father of Princess Latifa and what is he accused of?

Princess Latifa has accused her father of holding her hostage following attempts to flee the emirate, video messages to friends claim

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, has been accused by his daughter of holding her hostage.

Video recordings from 2018 were handed to the BBC and show Princess Latifa crouched against the wall in a bathroom at the “villa jail” where she said she is being detained.

In the videos Latifa claims that she was captured and sedated while trying to flee the emirate in 2018.

International pressure is now mounting on Sheikh Mohammed thought Dubai Royal court has denied the claims in the past.

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is among those calling for proof that Princess Latifa is alive, telling Sky News: “I think, given what we have just seen, I think people would just at a human level want to see that she is alive and well, of course.”

Who is Sheikh Mohammed?

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the ruler of Dubai, and the prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates.

The 71-year-old ascended to the title of Ruler of Dubai in 206 and is largely credited with developing the Emirate into a global city, while also lunching Emirates Airline and Dubai Ports World.

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He has overseen some of the city’s most ambitious projects including the erecting of the Burj Khalifa and the construction of the Palm Islands.

The leader has connections to the UK, studying at the Bell Language School in Cambridge and attending the Mons Officer Cadet School.

Sheikh Mohammed owns an estate in Surrey and a property near Newmarket racecourse. He also owns over 60,000 acres of land in the Scottish highlands.

Last year the High Court in London found her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, “ordered and orchestrated” the abduction and forced return to Dubai of Princess Latifa twice, in 2002 and again in 2018, and forced return to Dubai of Sheikha Shamsa, then 19, in August 2000.

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The High Court also found that the leader had conducted a “campaign of fear and intimidation” against his former wife Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein.

The ruler had previously been pictured alongside the Queen at horse racing events due to their shared passion for the sport, although the Queen was said to “distance herself” from him following the High Court ruling.

What did Princess Latifa say in secret messages?

The secret messages were recorded over several months according to a BBC Panorama investigation.

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In the recordings she details her escape attempt in 2018, telling how she was taken from her boat “kicking and screaming”, biting a commando’s arm.

She claims that she was then tranquilised, losing consciousness and not waking up until she returned to Dubai.

Princess Latifa said that she was being held in a villa which was barred shut.

She said: "I'm a hostage and this villa has been converted into a jail.

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"All the windows are barred shut, I can't open any window.

"There's five policemen outside and two policewomen inside the house.

"And I can't even go outside to get any fresh air."

Princess Latifa first tried to escape the United Arab Emirates when she was 16, attempting to cross the UAE and Oman border.

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Prior to her escape attempt in 2018, Latifa accused her father of maltreatment of her and her sister Shamsa, along with other serious charges.