Princess Latifa has urged that a further investigation could help free her sister, Princess ShamsaLouis Ashworth

The daughter of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Princess Latifa, who made headlines last week after “hostage” footage of her was released, has urged Cambridgeshire Police to relaunch an investigation into her sister’s capture.

The BBC reported that a letter originally written by Princess Latifa in 2019 was given to Cambridgeshire Police on Wednesday (24/02), stating that re-investigating the kidnap of Princess Shamsa could help free her.

Princess Latifa’s older sister, Princess Shamsa, who was 18 at the time, was abducted from Cambridge in August 2000 on her father’s orders, following her escape from his Longcross Estate in Surrey. She was then transported by helicopter to France, and by private jet to Dubai. She has not been seen in public since.

“All I ask of you”, writes Latifa, “is to please give attention on her case because it could get her her freedom [...] your help and attention on her case could free her.”

She adds: “She has strong links to England [...] she really loves England, all of her fondest memories are of her time there.”

Latifa dated the letter February 2018, prior to her escape attempt, so as not to reveal her communication channel with the outside world from her “jail.”

More than two decades after Shamsa’s capture, footage of Princess Latifa, who claims to have been held captive by her father since her escape attempt in 2018, was released last week, in which she says that she is being held “hostage” in a “jail villa” and doesn’t know if she will “see the sun again”.

The footage was recorded in 2019. The United Nations asked the United Arab Emirates on Sunday (21/02) for proof that the princess is alive.

The letter also details the harsh reality Princess Shamsa, now 39, endured after her return to Dubai: “She was kept incommunicado with no release date, trial or charge. She was tortured by getting her feet caned”.

Latifa has said her older sister spent eight years in prison after her abduction in 2000. When she was released in 2008, Latifa was able to see her, and stated: “She had to be led around by her hand. She couldn’t open her eyes […] she was given a bunch of pills to control her. Those pills made her like a zombie.”

A kidnap investigation was first launched in 2001 by Cambridgeshire Police, following contact Shamsa made with an immigration lawyer she had met in London. However, the investigation was limited since officers were prevented from entering Dubai.

Another review was launched in 2020 after the High Court published their 2019 judgment that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum had orchestrated the abduction of his two daughters and held them in captivity against their will.

Cambridgeshire Police told the BBC 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.”

After the footage of Princess Latifa emerged, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stated that the case was “deeply troubling” and that the UK would “watch very closely developments on that front”.

Princess Shamsa received a western education and was raised partly in Britain. According to her cousin, Marcus Essabri, who lived with the family in Dubai, Shamsa “wanted to make a difference for women, in the Arab world especially. She wanted to push the boundaries [...] this is when the problems started.”