A former French spy who says he helped a ‘runaway princess’ escape from Dubai in a luxury yacht claims they were ‘blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten’ by soldiers before being sent back to the UAE.
Jean-Pierre Hervé Jaubert, a dual French-American national, said he was arrested along with the crew of the yacht Nostromo in a raid, according to the campaign group Detained In Dubai (DID).
He said he had been trying to help Sheikha Latifa – daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE – to escape and seek political asylum in the United States.
She has previously claimed that she was subject to ‘years of abuse’ and had been drugged as well as imprisoned for three years.
Former French spy Jean-Pierre Hervé Jaubert who says he helped a ‘runaway princess’ escape from Dubai in a luxury yacht claims they were ‘blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten’ by soldiers before being sent back to the UAE
Mr Jaubert said he was arrested along with Latifa and Finnish woman Tina Jauhiainen (above) on the yacht Nostromo in a raid, according to the campaign group Detained In Dubai
He said he had been trying to help Sheikha Latifa – daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE – to escape and seek political asylum in the United States
In an extraordinary audio statement released through DID, Mr Jaubert claimed the raid was carried out by ‘five warships, two planes and a helicopter.’
He said he was later released without charge by the UAE authorities but remains ‘unsafe at sea’, the group added.
Describing the ‘raid’ in an audio message, Mr Jaubert said around 12 men boarded the yacht.
‘They beat us severely with guns, and they robbed us; took pretty much everything from the boat.
‘We were taken to the UAE. Kidnapped, and sent to jail in the UAE, I don’t know where. We were blindfolded and handcuffed. I had no idea where they kept us.’
Mr Jaubert, who said the raid happened with no warning, said he had decided to help Latifa after she claimed she had been maltreated.
‘I tried to help Princess Latifa to escape from Dubai because she said she was abused and tortured by her father and this abuse, that I have experienced myself, is something that cannot be tolerated.’
In an extraordinary audio statement released through DID, Mr Jaubert claimed the raid was carried out by ‘five warships, two planes and a helicopter’
Mr Jaubert said he had decided to help Latifa after she claimed she had been maltreated. Jaubert operated as a secret agent for the French secret service until 1993. He allegedly escaped from Dubai himself dressed in scuba gear and woman’s clothing (above)
The Frenchman said he was eventually released but that he believed Latifa was still being held.
‘They told me that although I did not break any laws in the water, I broke Islamic Law,’ he said in his audio message.
‘Under Islamic Law women are in the custody of a father, husband or brother.
‘So when I helped Latifa to escape, they viewed that as kidnapping her from her father, and that is how they justified their military operation.’
It is not known where Mr Jaubert recorded his message but it is thought he is back at sea.
Thought to be a former spy and author, the Frenchman was declared missing by DID with the princess and a Finnish friend earlier this month.
Princess Latifa said she was one of 30 children that the wealthy ruler of Dubai had with six wives.
The royal claimed that she had been secretly imprisoned for three years after a failed bid for freedom as a teenager and was drugged in hospital by doctors seeking to stop her rebelling.
In a video message and a series of audio recordings she said that she was subjected to a range of repressive measures including a curfew, a ban on driving or leaving the country, and round-the-clock surveillance.
MailOnline was unable to independently verify these claims.
The princess was hiding on Mr Jaubert’s US-registered yacht off the coast of southern India and intending to seek political asylum in the United States when the raid ocurred, DID said.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, described Mr Jaubert as a ‘kind and selfless man’.
Ms Stirling said: ‘We have every reason to believe that all parties involved in the illegal commandeering of Nostromo may wish to prevent Hervé’s testimony from ever being heard.’
However the Emirati authorities have previously described him as a liar and a fraudster.
After leaving the Navy he set up a successful submarine making firm in Florida where he was recruited in 2004 by businessman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.
Following a visit of Mr Jaubert’s factory, Sulayem invited him to the UAE to do the same job in the Dubai.
The Frenchman said he was eventually released but that he believed Latifa was still being held. Latifa – who sent MailOnline a copy of her passport – is trying to seek political asylum in the US
Latifa sent a photo of her UAE identity card (pictured). She claims she was jailed for three years in Dubai and drugged in hospital by doctors to stop her rebelling and causing trouble
Sheikh Mohammed, 68, the patriarch is on close speaking terms with the Queen over their shared passion for horse racing and meet at Royal Ascot each year
However, by 2008, their relationship had broken down and there were accusations of embezzlement.
According to reports, Mr Jaubert went undercover in Islamic dress and escaped Dubai amid accusations of corruption.
Latifa’s father, the 68-year-old patriarch, is on close speaking terms with the Queen as over their shared passion for horse racing and meet at Royal Ascot each year.
But while he is well known on the horse racing circuit his family life in Dubai is a closely-guarded secret.
Latifa says she is the daughter of one of the less well-known wives of the Sheikh.
She says she has two other sisters and is the third daughter of the Sheikh that he has named Latifa.
Detained in Dubai contacted Scotland Yard on March 5 and reported her as a missing person.
MailOnline approached the Dubai office and Maktoum family for comment.