From onboard Nostromo, after Latifa’s daring escape from Dubai, she contacted Detained in Dubai CEO Radha Stirling and the two exchanged messages up until her capture. The messages showcase how determined the princess was to secure her freedom.
Stirling was the only person the princess trusted to reach out to for support, authorising her to publicise her story in the international media, and asking for her help in arranging asylum or assisting in the event she was arrested and subject of extradition proceedings.
In the recording Latifa is lucid, and relates matter-of-factly what she and her sister Shamsa had suffered at the hands of their father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai. “I had already been speaking to Latifa for a few days,” Stirling recalls, “When she entrusted me to act on her behalf and to take her story to the press, I asked her to record a brief summary about herself which I could present to selected journalists because I anticipated their reluctance to believe the story. At the time of the recording, Nostromo was on its approach to India, and Latifa was looking forward to moving on from there to the US where she would seek asylum.
“She was nervous but hopeful, and always articulate, intelligent and clearly feeling empowered by having finally put her plan into action. She was a young woman who knew what she was doing, knew what she wanted, and was pursuing it with tremendous courage. She was worried for the safety of everyone involved in her escape, and was doing her best to ensure success. Within 24 hours, I received Latifa’s panicked call from Nostromo as the boat was being raided by Indian and UAE forces.”
Latifa states on the recording that the date was March 3rd, one day before a joint military operation by UAE special forces and the Indian Coast Guard illegally attacked Nostromo in international waters and abducted all onboard.