in the United Arab Emirates, the princesses who wanted to escape their golden prison in the nets of cybersurveillance

By Madjid Zerrouky

Posted today at 6:29 p.m., updated at 6:30 p.m.

Never had she been so close to freedom as that night in February 2018… That evening, Princess Latifa Al-Maktoum, then aged 32, daughter of Mohammed Ben Rachid Al-Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai , approached very close to its destination, Sri Lanka, aboard the Nostromo, a two-masted American flag, usually chartered for luxury cruises in South Asia.

For this young woman, Dubai is a golden prison. Latifa says she suffers from a life ruled by the services of her autocrat father. Tired of this golden but idle existence, frustrated at not being able to travel abroad or study medicine as she dreams of, she has decided to run away. “There is no justice here. Especially if you are a woman. All my father cares about is his reputation. He is ready to kill people to protect her ”, she explains in a video sent to her friends.

Three years looking for the loophole

On board of sailboat, the passengers have gone to bed when noises are heard and a wave shakes the hull. Approaching India, off Goa, a helicopter-borne commando of the Indian Navy’s special forces – accompanied by Emirates – stormed the boat using smoke bombs, while, in the sky, an airplane scrambles communications.

“We were sleeping in our cabins when we heard shots. We took refuge in the toilets, terrified. Then, we were forced to go up on the bridge, because a smoke suffocated us. While taking the stairs, weapons equipped with laser sights were pointed at us ”, will tell in April 2018 Tiina Jauhiainen, the Finnish friend of Latifa Al-Maktoum, her capoeira teacher. “I was thrown to the ground and handcuffed, then they dragged me to the edge of the boat, stuck my face close to the surface of the water and said, ‘Close your eyes, take a deep breath. very last time, we’re gonna blow your brains out. ” “

A few meters away, Princess Latifa implores her captors one last time: “Shoot me here, but don’t bring me back”, as soldiers drag her out of the boat.

The skipper, a Frenchman, Hervé Jaubert, a former member of the DGSE, was brought back to the Emirates, where he was imprisoned for one month. The princess disappears. Latifa Al-Maktoum, who saved $ 300,000 for his escape project, hired the Frenchman because the businessman himself had managed to flee the emirate after run-ins with local authorities. He had been accused of embezzlement – which he denies.

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