Sunday, November 28, 2021

Dubai’s captive princess urges UK cops to reopen disappeared sister’s kidnap case

Diplomatic 'sensitivities' mean the police are experiencing difficulties making any further progress.

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The younger daughter of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has secretly sent a letter to police in the UK asking them to investigate the alleged kidnapping of her older sister, Princess Shamsa, from Britain in 2000, says a BBC report.

Shamsa, who was just 18 then and is now 39, has not been seen in public since she was forcibly returned to Dubai, allegedly by teams working for her father.

“In the summer of 2000 Shamsa escaped the family vacation house in England,” Latifa, who also claims she is being held prisoner, wrote in a letter forwarded to CNN by her friend David Haigh, a campaigner for her release and part of Detained International, a legal advocacy group.

“She wanted to seek asylum in the UK where she has family permanently living. After a few months, she was kidnapped and dragged screaming from the street. She was tranquilised and flown back to Dubai,” Latifa wrote in the document dated February 2018.

The princess said her sister was, “kept incommunicado with no release date, trial, or charge. She was tortured by getting her feet caned which is something I experienced myself with my own imprisonment”.

She pleaded, “All I ask of you is to please give attention on her case because it could get her freedom.”

Cambridgeshire police confirmed it has received a letter “which will be looked at as part of the ongoing review”.

A recent statement by the Dubai royal family said coverage of Latifa’s situation “is not reflective of the actual position”.

A British High Court judge ruled in 2019, that Sheikh Mohammed had abducted both daughters and held them against their will.

Cambridgeshire police first launched a kidnap investigation in 2001 after Shamsa made contact via an immigration lawyer. But the investigation eventually hit a dead end when officers were blocked from going to Dubai.

It later emerged that aides acting for the sheikh had made representations to the Foreign Office around the time of the investigation.

Police reviewed the investigation in 2018, and BBC News has now revealed that one investigator acknowledged there were “significant sensitivities” with the case.

In a statement to BBC News, Cambridgeshire police said it had received Latifa’s letter, which “will be looked at as part of the ongoing review”.

The statement added: “This is a very complex and serious matter and as such there are details of the case that it would be inappropriate to discuss publicly.”

The Dubai royal family has extensive high society connections in Britain. The sheikh is a personal friend of the Queen.

The UK Foreign Office declined to comment on Thursday.

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