Princess Latifa, in a letter received by the UK police, has appealed to re-investigate the kidnapping of her older sister from a Cambridge street more than 20 years ago, the BBC reported.
“All I ask of you is to please give attention on her case because it could get her her freedom,” Latifa, 35, wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the BBC. “Your help and attention on her case could free her.”
A High Court judge ruled in 2019, that Dubai ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, had abducted both daughters – Latifa and Shamsa and held them against their will. Shamsa, now 38, who was snatched from Cambridge on 19 August 2000, hasn’t been seen since.
“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,” Cambridgeshire police in the UK said in a statement. “In addition to this, we are also looking at the contents of the recent BBC Panorama documentary to identify whether it includes anything of significance to our case.”
Last week, the BBC broadcasted a series of videos, in which Latifa described how she was being held “hostage” by her father following a failed escape attempt in 2018. The UN has also asked the United Arab Emirates for proof that Latifa is alive but so far the UAE has only responded through its embassy in London, saying she is being well cared for.
In the first video footage seen of Latifa since she was sent back to Dubai, the 35-year-old described how on 4 March 2018, around 12 to 15 Indian commandos and two Emirati sergeants came on board her yacht and one injected her with what she presumed were tranquilisers.
Latifa’s Finnish friend Tina Jauhiainen, who was on the yacht, described to the BBC on how they were both asleep when they heard noises on the upper deck which sounded like gunshots.
“The boat was taken over by Indian special forces. Latifa was lying on the floor and her hands were tied behind her back and she kept repeating ‘I am seeking political asylum’ but they were not listening,” said Jauhiainen.
Police have declined to release further information about the letter, saying this is a “complex and serious” case that would be “inappropriate to discuss publicly.”
It was written in 2019 after Latifa had been detained, but she dated it February 2018 so that her captors wouldn’t know she had a way of communicating with the outside world, the BBC said.
Shamsa was staying at her father’s estate in the village of Longcross, west of London, in the summer of 2000 when she tried to escape. She later disappeared from a hotel in Cambridge and was spirited back to Dubai.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab last week called Latifa”s videos “very distressing” but suggested there was little the government could do because she is not a UK national.
Latifa’s supporters last week urged Joe Biden to pressure Sheikh Mohammed to release her, saying the US president is one of the few world leaders with the stature to win her freedom.