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‘Captive’ Princess Latifa writes to British police urging them to reopen probe into kidnap of her sister

Matt Mathers
·3-min read
<p>Plea: Princess Latifa’s letter is said to be from 2019</p> (Associated Press)

Plea: Princess Latifa’s letter is said to be from 2019

(Associated Press)

The princess who says she is being held captive by her father, Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed, has urged British police to reinvestigate the disappearance of her sister who was bundled into a vehicle in a Cambridge street in 2000.

The BBC reported that in a secret letter sent to Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Princess Latifa is said to have pleaded with the force to re-examine Princess Shamsa’s case and help to “get her freedom”.

It comes less than a week after a harrowing video emerged in which Latifa, 35, accuses her father of holding her hostage. In a statement issued via the United Arab Emirates embassy in London, the Dubai royal family said Latifa was being cared for at home.

Latifa’s older sibling, Shamsa, was kidnapped on the orders of their father after fleeing the family’s estate in Surrey. Now 39, Shamsa was aged 18 at the time of her kidnap and has not been seen in public since.

The billionaire sheikh has denied involvement but a High Court judge ruled in 2019 that he had organised the abduction of both daughters and held them against their will and that he had subjected his estranged wife Princess Haya to a campaign of fear and intimidation.

Latifa writes in the letter shared with the BBC: “All I ask of you is to please give attention on her case because it could get her freedom ... your help and attention on her case could free her. She has strong links to England ... she really loves England, all of her fondest memories are of her time there.”

According to the BBC, the handwritten letter is from 2019 but only passed to police on Wednesday by friends.

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

The force 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 Independent has contacted the Dubai government for additional comment.

Latifa’s plight was brought to the world’s attention when she appeared in a separate video released in 2018, which detailed how she wanted to escape Dubai and had attempted it in 2002 with her friend Tiina Jauhiainen, a fitness instructor. The pair were intercepted on a boat to India by Dubai special forces. Latifa was forcibly taken back and she says she has been held against her will since.

Last year, London judge Andrew McFarlane found Sheikh Mohammed had, “acted in a manner from the end of 2018 which has been aimed at intimidating and frightening,” his ex-wife Haya.

He also said the sheikh, “ordered and orchestrated,” the abductions and the forced return to Dubai of his daughters from another marriage: Shamsa in August 2000 and Latifa in 2002 and again in 2018.

The judge made rulings after a battle between the estranged spouses over the welfare of their two children.

Haya, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, married the Dubai ruler in 2004, becoming his second official wife, the court said. Sheikh Mohammed also had several unofficial wives. The couple have a daughter, Jalila, 12, and son Zayed, eight, the youngest of the ruler’s 25 children.

In April 2019, Haya fled the Gulf emirate with her children, saying she had become terrified of her husband’s threats and intimidation.

The judge said Shamsa was abducted in Cambridge and, “has been deprived of her liberty for much if not all of the past two decades”.

It is understood she fled the family’s Longcross Estate in Surrey because she was angry about Dubai’s human rights record and not being allowed to go to university. Shamsa was forcibly taken, flown by helicopter to France and by private jet back to Dubai.