Princess Latifa abduction

Captive Dubai princess appeals for the UK to review the case of her kidnapped sister from over twenty years ago

Still from Latifa’s speech-to-camera on Sky News.

— 3 minute read — By Derry Salter

Princess Latifa, the captive daughter of Dubai’s ruler, told Cambridgeshire police in a letter that the UK could help free her sister, Princess Shamsa, who was kidnapped on her father’s orders. Her older sister was kidnapped over two decades ago.

In August 2000, Princess Shamsa was kidnapped in Cambridge after escaping from her father’s Longcross Estate in Surrey. Shamsa was flown by helicopter to France, then a private jet back to Dubai. According to her sister, Shamsa was repeatedly tortured and given multiple sedative drugs upon her return.

Princess Shamsa’s case was first investigated by police in 2001 in response to the victim making contact with an immigration lawyer. Yet, the investigation was short-lived as officers were barred from entering Dubai. In 2019, a UK high court ruled that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum abducted both of his daughters and is holding them against their will.  The Sheikh’s only comment concerning the matter speaks of his “relief” that he found his “vulnerable” daughter after she went missing.

However, investigating the case continues to prove difficult for the UK police force due to the Sheikh’s close connections with the country. He is a close acquaintance to the Queen, as well as one of the largest private landowners nationwide.

The letter was written in 2019 whilst Latifa was held in solitary confinement in a “jail villa”. It was dated February 2018, before her escape attempt, to prevent any suspicion that she could communicate with the outside world.

Following Latifa’s failed escape in 2018, she has been secretly recording videos on a phone given to her by a friend detailing her hostage situation. All videos were recorded in the bathroom as it is the only door able to be locked. The videos detail Latifa’s journey back to Dubai after her attempt to escape; she fought against soldiers taking her off the boat, bit a commander’s arm, and was eventually tranquillised before being carried on to a private jet. The Princess was held in solitary confinement with no access to medical or legal help.

The BBC received these videos last week, which have drawn many questions over whether the Princess is still alive.