New photograph shows UAE's missing Princess Latifa 'at Dubai mall'
A photograph posted to Instagram earlier this week appears to show a Dubai princess who was allegedly kidnapped in 2018 and held by her family.
Princess Latifa, a daughter of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, was last seen in a video released to journalists in February, where she said she feared for her life.
The picture posted to instagram purportedly shows the princess sitting with at a table in a Dubai mall with two other women. Friends of the princess who spoke to the BBC confirmed that the woman in the centre of the picture is the princess, while the two others are her friends.
Campaigners seeking Princess Latifa's release have described the post as a positive development.
"We are seeking clarification from Dubai and remain hopeful that Latifa is safe and well”, said Radha Stirling, founder of detainee campaign group Detained in Dubai. “If the photograph is genuine, it would indicate that the UAE intends to perhaps allow Latifa to return to public life as mentioned in their last statement."
Stirling had last been in contact with the princess in three years ago, when the royal had pleaded for help to escape.
In 2018, Princess Latifa attempted to flee the UAE on a boat that was then intercepted by commandos off the coast of India, according to her friends.
A Dubai government source later said that she had been "brought back" and the UAE released photographs of Latifa, saying she was receiving "the necessary care and support".
Captain Hervé Jaubert, a friend of the princess who helped in her abortive escape attempt, welcomed the new developments.
“If the photo is real, I am so relieved to hear this wonderful news." Jaubert told Detained in Dubai. "Princess Latifa looks straight in the camera and seems to be herself and happy.”