Royal’s terrifying plea for help to escape



A sobbing royal has recorded a video pleading for help escaping Dubai and her parents.

The latest in a string of royals to try to flee the United Arab Emirates, the woman who claims to be Sheikha Maitha Maktoum says she can no longer stand to live there.

Maitha is not a daughter of Dubai's leader Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, whose estranged wife Princess Haya bint al-Hussein fled the country last year with their two young children.

60 Minutes reports she is part of the extended royal family.

In a video obtained by the program, Maitha has a noisy background so no one can hear her.

"I am thinking of leaving tonight. Why? I just can't stand it. I'm … I just cannot stand it," she says.

"I'm sick of my parents, I feel like … I will leave in a few hours.

"If I got caught, I would have been murdered."


She said this was the video she wanted to be seen in case anything happened to her.

Human rights advocate David Haigh was sent the video and said she wanted to leave because of how women were treated.

"She wasn't allowed to live the life that she sees all the western women, that are expats in Dubai, living," he told 60 Minutes.

"And I think that's what makes it very difficult for the locals in Dubai, for the Emiratis, is that they are still under a very archaic system of male guardianship, particularly for the women.

"Yet their noses are pressed up against designer shopping malls, designer nightclubs. But they're told, 'No, you can't take part in that'. It must be very, very, very, very difficult, and understandably, many of them want to leave."

Mr Haigh said he lost contact with Maitha late last year after her escape bid failed and he didn't know where she was.


60 Minutes was told Maitha was inspired by Princess Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, who also recorded a video to be released in the event of her disappearance.

"If you are watching this, it's not such a good thing. Either I'm dead or I'm in a very, very, very bad situation," she said in the footage.

Her daring and thwarted escape made international headlines after she enlisted the help of trusted sympathisers - including her martial arts instructor Tiina Jauhiainen and former French spy Hervé Jaubert - before driving across the border into Oman and boarding a boat headed for the Indian coast.

But the vessel was stormed by commandos who captured Latifa, and she was not seen for months on end.


There were widespread fears she had been killed or harmed, but in December 2018, on her 33rd birthday, Dubai's Royal Court finally released a photo and an official statement regarding her whereabouts.

Another of the sheik's daughters, Princess Sheikha Shamsa Al-Maktoum was grabbed by armed men on an English street in 2000 and hasn't been seen in public since.

The teen had been out with friends at a bar in Cambridge before allegedly being snatched by the men and later flown back to Dubai, where she is assumed to remain.

A month before the attack, she had secretly visited an immigration lawyer to seek advice on how to remain in the UK.

The latest to flee has been Princess Haya.

In March UK High Court judge Andrew McFarlane said her estranged husband used the apparatus of the state "to threaten, intimidate, mistreat and oppress with a total disregard for the rule of law".



Originally published as Royal's terrifying plea for help

A woman claiming to be a member of the Dubai royal family has recorded a video pleading for help. Picture: 60 Minutes
A woman claiming to be a member of the Dubai royal family has recorded a video pleading for help. Picture: 60 Minutes