The critically acclaimed award winning Australian news show 60 Minutes aired an hour long documentary in July 2018, focusing on Princess Latifa. 60 minutes spent months researching Princess Latifa’s brave escape attempt, interviewing witnesses and those helping the Princess.
60 Minutes is watched by millions of Australians in their homes and millions more across the world online. Another 1 million people have seen the “watch later” YouTube version alone.
You can read an article on the 60 minutes how here.
The filming of the show, which including dramatic re-enactments of the kidnap of Princess Latifa at gunpoint by they UAE and India, sent shockwaves across Australia and the world.
60 minutes showed long excerpts from Princess Latifa’s candid video shown that was recorded just before her escape In the video the 32-year-old princess attacks the progressive image of Dubai, as well as her father’s character.
“All my father cares about is his reputation,” Princess Latifa said.
“And if you are watching this video, it’s is not such a good thing. Either I’m dead, or I’m in a very, very, very bad situation.”
The princess claims she once spent time in jail, a torturous experience that lasted from June 2002 to October 2005 after a previous attempt to flee Dubai.
“It was constant torture, constant torture,” she says in the video.
“Even when they weren’t physically beating me up, they would torture me.
“I was in solitary confinement by myself, totally, and there’s no windows, there’s no light.”
Tiina Jauhiainen, the princess’ best friend, spoke to 60 Minutes and said the Princess Latifa was under her powerful father’s thumb.
“She basically had no freedom. She had curfews,” Ms Jauhiainen told 60 Minutes.
“Her life was just very restricted, and it felt like she always had to look over her shoulder.”
Ms Jauhiainen joined the princess in her daring escape, along with the yacht’s skipper, former French spy Herve Jaubert.
And her final moments with Princess Latifa were terrifying when the watercraft was intercepted somewhere between India and Dubai.
“They (the commandos) were telling me, ‘close your eyes, or we’ll shoot you right here. Take your last breath now’,” Ms Jauhiainen said.
“She was kicking and screaming, and she was fighting for her life.”
Mr Jaubert and Ms Jauhiainen were thrown in a Dubai jail after disastrous operation, and Ms Stirling said if Princess Latifa’s video hadn’t been released to the media, it could have been the end of them.
“It’s my strong belief that without the press coverage, without the spotlight on this case, that
perhaps they would have been killed, or certainly they would still be in the secret prison.”
British human rights lawyer David Haigh, who has experienced torture in Dubai, is looking after the case. He was appointed by Princess Latifa, alongside his co managing partner at Stirling Haigh, Radha Stirling CEO of Detained in Dubai.
Mr Haigh said he was electrocuted and beaten severely by authorities in the well-heeled city after he was arrested over a financial dispute, but was later acquitted.
He has taken Princess Latifa’s case to the United Nations, and said the mission was not fabricated.
“You know, the evidence is all there. You know, it’s not just us, now,” Mr Haigh said.
“The United Nations accepted this. Human Rights Watch is behind this. It’s not just us.
“At the beginning, it was just us, and we were battling everybody thinking, ‘Well, this is so fantastic, it sounds like a movie, it can’t be true’. But then people start to realise it was true.”