The Fugitive Princess Forced to Return to Dubai

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In 2018, Sheikha Latifa of Dubai made a daring attempt to escape her home country. Her plan was to hide in the trunk of a car, launch a dinghy, reach a yacht, sail to India or Sri Lanka, and then fly to the United States to claim asylum. But, in the middle of the Arabian Sea, a team of armed men stormed the boat and forced Latifa back to Dubai. The commandos had been sent at the request of her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai. The Sheikh has been praised by world leaders as a modernizer and a champion for women’s advancement in the Middle East, all while subjecting Latifa and other women in his family to confinement and abuse (charges that he has denied). Heidi Blake, a staff writer at The New Yorker, spent many months reporting on what led the princess to flee, and on the consequences that she faced. She joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the Dubai royal family’s patriarchal system of control and the women who tried to break free.

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