Randa Al-Banna, who resides in Lebanon, caused a new crisis for her separated husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, following her statements about his daughter, Sheikha Latifa, to foreign media. Journalist Louise Callaghan of the British newspaper Sunday Times in his report quoted Randa Al-Banna stating, Sheikha Latifa [also known as Princess Latifa], the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed Maktoum is not free, but is in a larger prison.
Louise Callaghan spoke to the former wife of Mohammed bin Rashid, from her home in Beirut, where she lives with her two dogs, which she considers one of the homes where she feels safe decades after her separation from her husband, the ruler of Dubai.
Randa Al-Banna, 66, told the newspaper her story two years ago, but the predicament of Sheikha Latifa, the sheikh’s daughter, with a second wife, prompted her to speak again.
And this month, Al-Banna met the journalist when she took her in her car, and she looked like a character from the films of Italian director Fellini, with her black sunglasses and silk handkerchief.
Sheikha Latifa, daughter of the ruler of Dubai
Latifa was arrested on her father’s orders and sent back to Dubai when she tried to flee the emirate on a yacht in 2018.
This year, she released a video in which she said she was living in a prison.
Also, several months ago, she began posting pictures on her Instagram account, which gave a picture that she is free and happy and with her friends. This prompted those demanding her release to close their campaign.
Latifa was arrested on her father’s orders and returned to Dubai when she tried to flee the emirate on a yacht in 2018
Sionde Taylor, a former teacher of Latifa who worked with the ruling family in Dubai and published a picture of her and the Sheikha, told the journalist that Latifa wants to be left alone.
In a statement from the Sheikha on Friday, through her British lawyers, she said, “The allegations that I am not free are not true. I am free to travel and live the life I want and I demand respect for my privacy so that I can live in peace.”
Princess Shamsa and Latifa, daughters of Mohammed bin Rashid
However, the ex-wife is not convinced, and is the first person to speak differently about developments regarding Latifa. “If Latifa is free, why haven’t we heard from her?” And “she is in a bigger prison than before.
And she continued in her statements to the British newspaper: “If she was in fact free, then let her go out and say this. And I will believe that she is free if she comes out and speaks as she dared and said that she is in prison through the video,” and “she will only be released when he decides,” referring to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
Al-Banna also wondered why we hadn’t heard of Shamsa, Latifa’s sister who was kidnapped from Cambridge in 2000 after escaping from her father’s home in Surrey.
Sir Andrew MacFarlane, head of the family division at the High Court of London, said Sheikh Al Maktoum orchestrated the kidnapping and enforced disappearance of Shamsa and Latifa, and the sheikh denies the allegations.
In a video released in 2018, Latifa said Shamsa had been imprisoned since her return to Dubai. Marcus Isbari, Shamsa’s relative, who demanded her release, changed his mind and told the writer this summer that Shamsa is living her life committed to Islam and living in peace.
He appeared in a photo with Latifa and others after they traveled together on vacation to Iceland. “It was amazing to see her happy,” he wrote.
But many critics of the ruler of Dubai believe that there are many hidden features in the story. If anyone knows the dangers of speaking openly and as a woman in the Al Maktoum House, it is Al-Banna, “I was treated badly” and “very badly”.
Mohammed bin Rashid paid her a house rent in London and gave her a monthly salary that has now stopped. He paid for her daughter’s travel costs from her ex-third husband to leave Libya for Italy to give birth due to pregnancy difficulties.
And in the midst of the acts of generosity a terrible thing happened. Al-Banna confirmed that she was placed under house arrest in her apartment in Rome by Emirati officials at the embassy in Rome, apparently on the orders of her husband. A spokesman for Al Maktoum denied the allegations.
Al-Banna said that her passports were confiscated, her phone was confiscated, and her movements were monitored.
Randa Al-Banna exposes Mohammed bin Rashid
Al-Banna said that her passports were confiscated, her phone was confiscated, and her movements were monitored. Callaghan says she went to Rome after learning of Bana’s hardships and found her apartment in an elegant home on a cobbled street. And there was something wrong.
Al-Banna responded to her letter with an answer that used capital letters, “I’m doing well, thanks for the question” instead of the normal voice message. When the apartment bell rang, someone replied that Banna was resting and she was fine. After a break in which Al-Banna did not respond to the messages, she received a text message from her saying, “Louise, I’ve been going through a hellish period since September, please make sure I’m safe.”
She said that she rented the apartment with her money, but she was surprised one day when a woman knocked on the door who said that she was from the embassy and that she would stay with her to help her. “I was shocked,” Al-Banna says.
It later appeared that the woman would not leave the apartment and forbade her to go out on her own. Although she holds Italian citizenship, she hesitated to inform the authorities there because she was afraid of her alliance with Sheikh Al Maktoum. She was afraid of being forced to go to Dubai.
At a later time, a man came who presented himself as from the embassy and asked her to sign a paper pledging not to speak to the media or a nice editorial campaign, nor to communicate with her daughter, and that she would cancel the publication of her memoirs. Al-Banna said she refused at first and eventually signed a modified version. Sheikh Al Maktoum denies any connection to this.
Her passports were returned and she traveled to London. She received a call from a British-accented woman who said she was an employee of the sheikh. I told her that the stories about Sheikha Latifa’s imprisonment were not true and that the princess was ready to talk to her.
Al-Banna replied that she would welcome a call from Latifa, then she had Al-Banna’s number. She began to doubt when the woman asked her if Latifa had called her. and “I told her you have no right to ask such a question.” This woman has not had contact with her for four months.
The house arrest in Rome was another chapter of her life full of drama and tragedy. At the age of sixteen, after being expelled from a school for nuns, she met Sheikh Muhammad, who was six years her senior, in a night club. And they got married quickly.
She was his first wife although he later married five times. She lived a busy life with him as they traveled the world and made plans for the future. However, after a divorced years, she returned to Beirut and was forced to leave her daughter, Amal, in Dubai. After marrying a ferocious militiaman during the Civil War, she fled with her two sons to Rome, where she wanted to work as a fashion designer.
Despite the Sheikh’s repeated promises to allow her to meet her daughter, this did not happen. In 2005 she decided to go to her daughter’s wedding, but she was beaten with a baseball bat. Al Maktoum paid her medical fees after the attack.
She said she left the names of four Prime Time Zone with two lawyers, an American and an Italian, to charge them if she died. She refused to reveal their identity to the journalist. “If I die in mysterious circumstances, I hold these Prime Time Zone responsible for attacking me,” she said.
She says she has kept quiet and kept away from the media since leaving Dubai in the hope of seeing her daughter. “I was accused of looking for fame,” she said. “If I wanted Prime Time Zone to know that I was the mother of his daughter, I would have done this a long time ago, so why wait.”
She decided to talk two years ago after Latifa’s failed escape, and the writer met her at the Knightsbridge Hotel. She said she did not know Latifa well, but was hoping to help her and Shamsa by talking about them.
She was hoping to catch her daughter Manal’s attention by talking and that she missed her. Manal Al Maktoum has become an influential figure in the UAE. She is the director of the Dubai Women’s Establishment. She is married to the Deputy Prime Minister but has never called her mother.
Al-Banna says, “I want to meet Manal with Sheikh Muhammad and discuss, and anything you will know, I want to hear from him: Why did you do this to me? And what did you do to him? This is my right.”
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