David Haigh: “It’s astonishing that this case hasn't been solved after more than 20 years”Diego Delso/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Human rights lawyer David Haigh has called for a public inquiry concerning Cambridgeshire Police’s investigation into the abduction of Princess Shamsa in 2000.

Princess Shamsa, who is the daughter of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, was taken from the streets of Cambridge on her father’s orders when she was 19, after escaping the family’s Longcross Estate in Surrey. She was transported back to Dubai and has not been seen in public since.

The Princess, who is now 39, is presumed to be held captive. A High Court judge ruled in 2019 that the Sheikh held Shamsa, as well as her sister, Princess Latifa, against her will, after abducting them both on separate occasions. Princess Latifa made headlines around the world in 2019, when “hostage” footage of her was released in a “villa jail”: “I don’t really know if I’m going to survive this situation [...] I don’t know what they’re planning to do with me,” Latifa says to the camera. The Free Latifa campaign group has now disbanded, as Latifa is thought to be free and safe.

It has been previously alleged that the Foreign Office “lent on” Cambridgeshire Police to “not carry on the investigation” into the Princess’ abduction since it would be “diplomatically embarrassing” to take action against Dubai’s ruler. It is for this same reason that it is presumed that action will not be taken against Sheikh Mohammed following revelations that he hacked the phone of his ex-wife, Princess Haya, and members of her legal and security team using Pegasus spyware in a family court hearing in the UK, despite it being an illegal offense.

The NSO Group’s Pegasus software gives the user the ability to access photos, videos, phone calls – everything on the target’s mobile phone. Sheikh Mohammed denies allegations of phone-hacking.

The Foreign Office has denied having any involvement in the investigation or its outcome.

Human rights advocate David Haigh, who has previously advised Princess Latifa on her escape from Dubai and claims against her father, has called for an inquiry to be carried out into why the investigation into Princess Shamsa’s abduction was halted. He also claims that he has “crucial new” evidence into the abduction that he will present to the police.

Haigh said in a statement: “A brazen offence has been committed on a British street. It’s astonishing that this case hasn’t been solved after more than 20 years, but credit to the police for not giving up. They can rely on us for all the help and evidence we can give to bring the kidnappers to British justice.”

Princess Latifa called for the investigation to be reopened by the police in a letter from 2018, which was delivered by Haigh’s advocacy group, Detained International, to Cambridgeshire police in February of this year. “All I ask of you”, the Princess wrote, “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.”


Mountain View

Princess Latifa calls on Cambridgeshire Police to re-investigate the kidnap of her older sister

The investigation was first launched by Cambridgeshire police in 2001 after Shamsa made contact via an immigration lawyer, although it came to a standstill when officers were blocked from travelling to Dubai to follow up on the case.

Freedom of information requests were submitted to the UK foreign office about the reasoning behind the decision to stop the investigation, but were rejected on the grounds that the relationship between the UK and the UAE could be harmed.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary stated on Friday (08/10) that the new evidence had not yet been presented, but that they were in the process of making arrangements for this to be done.

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Constabulary told Varsity that it “has carried out a detailed and exhaustive review of the reported abduction of Shamsa Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Cambridge in 2000 ” but “are not in a position to take any further action at this time.”

The statement continues: “New lines of inquiry were pursued in what has been a uniquely challenging and complex case, however, there remains insufficient evidence to reopen the investigation. As with all cases, it could be reopened, should we receive significant and substantial new evidence.”

The spokesperson added: “There are details of the case that are inappropriate to discuss publicly due to this being an incredibly complex and serious matter. The welfare of individuals is our primary concern and it would be inappropriate to share publicly details in relation to this investigation.”