Middle East

Dubai ruler's wife flees to London in bid for political asylum

A file photo of Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, who has reportedly fled to London. Source: AAP

Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, one of the six wives of Dubai leader Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, is seeking political asylum in London.

One of the wives of the powerful ruler of Dubai has reportedly left her husband to seek political asylum in the United Kingdom, after she discovered “disturbing” facts about the failed escape of her step-daughter.

Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, one of the six wives of Dubai leader Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, is in hiding in a townhouse with her two children in London, where she is seeking political asylum.

Princess Haya is the half-sister of the current ruler of Jordan, King Abdullah II, and has been married to the 69-year-old Dubai leader since 2004.

But as she prepared to fight her husband in court, Princess Haya became “fearful of her life” and her escape came after she learnt of “disturbing facts” about the botched attempt by her step-daughter Sheikha Latifa to flee the country, the BBC reports.

Latifa, one of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters, failed in her attempt to escape her father’s regime last year following a daring – but ultimately doomed - plan to sail to India.

The 33-year-old princess was subsequently returned to Dubai when armed men off the coast of India intercepted the private yacht.

In a video message before the alleged escape, Latifa pleads her case, saying her father would “kill people” to protect his reputation.

"And if you are watching this video, it's not such a good thing — either I'm dead or I'm in a very, very, very bad situation."

There have been concerns for Latifa’s welfare over the past year with little to no reports about her whereabouts since the UAE government released photos of her meeting former United Nations human rights chief, Mary Robinson, late last year.

Ms Robinson attracted criticism after she insisted that Latifa was receiving psychiatric care.

"I think you have to bear in mind that this is a troubled young woman who has a serious medical situation," she told the BBC at the time.

Ms Robinson would not comment on the latest news of Princess Haya’s escape except to say she remained a friend.

“I have never been friends, except with Princess Haya, one friend, who is still my friend,” she told the Irish Times.

The UAE government has not commented on the escape of Princess Haya but Sheikh Mohammed used a June 10 social media post to accuse an unidentified woman of “treachery and betrayal”.

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