Princess Latifa asks UK police to reopen probe into sister's abduction

Robert Mendick
·3-min read
Princess Latifa Al Maktoum, the captive daughter of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
Princess Latifa Al Maktoum, the captive daughter of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,

Princess Latifa has written to British police pleading for a fresh investigation into the alleged kidnapping and torture of her sister at the hands of Dubai’s ruling elite.

In an astonishing letter, seen by the Daily Telegraph, the princess - herself held captive in the Gulf state - said she had “personally witnessed” her sister Princess Shamsa suffer “physical abuse at the hands of family members”.

She claims her sister was punched in the face and had her feet caned.

The High Court in London has already ruled that Princess Shamsa was abducted on the orders of her father Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum more than 20 years ago in August 2000.

It is claimed that she escaped her father’s estate in Surrey but was captured by his henchmen in Cambridge and then flown home by helicopter and private jet via France.

The court has also ruled that Princess Latifa was also held against her will when she too tried to escape from Dubai by boat in 2018 but was caught on the Indian ocean.

Videos of princess Latifa, recorded on her phone, were last week smuggled out of Dubai in which she accused her father of holding her hostage.

It has now emerged that Princess Latifa wrote a letter to Cambridgeshire Police in February 2018, urging the force to open a new inquiry into Princess Shamsa’s alleged abduction.

In the handwritten letter, Princess Latifa described seeing her sister struck across the face. “This is just one example of the many abuses I saw her suffer,” she wrote.

She said her sister had “wanted to seek asylum in the UK” but when she was found in Cambridge by a team deployed by her father, Princess Shamsa was “dragged form the street kicking and screaming” before being “tranquilised and flown back from Dubai”, where she was “imprisoned until 2008” with “no release date, trial or charge”.

Princess Latifa also claims her sister was “tortured”.

She wrote: “She [Shamsa] was tortured by getting her feet caned, which is something I experienced myself with my own imprisonment.”

Princess Shamsa, who vanished in 2000
Princess Shamsa, who vanished in 2000

Her plea to the police focuses on how the alleged crime happened in the UK, adding how Princess Shamsa “has strong links to England… she really loves England, all of her fondest memories are of her time there."

She concluded: “All I ask of you is to please give attention on her case because it could get her her freedom, which is the only thing that she wants in life.”

Princess Shamsa, now 38, has not been seen in public since the alleged abduction when she was just 18. It is understood Princess Latifa last saw her sister, Shamsa, in 2019.

Cambridgeshire Police previously confirmed “aspects” of their 2001 investigation – which found insufficient evidence to take any action – will be revisited, although the force insisted the investigation is no longer “active”.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said: “The review into the disappearance of Princess Shamsa continues. 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.

“We can confirm officers have recently received a letter, dated February 2018, in relation to this case which will be looked at as part of the ongoing review.”

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the issue is a matter for the police. “The Prime Minister said last week Princess Latifa’s claims of being held against her will are obviously concerning,” the spokesman said. “But with regards to the abduction of Princess Shamsa, that (investigation) was conducted by Cambridge Constabulary.”

Footage filmed by Princess Latifa of her life in the “villa jail”, broadcast this month, was described by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab as “very distressing”, and triggered worried responses around the globe.

But a family statement released through the UAE embassy in London played down allegations of mistreatment, and said she is being cared for at home.

It said: “She continues to improve and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time.”