Emirati princess calls for new probe to find sister who vanished 21 years ago

Emirati princess Latifa Al Maktoum has urged police in the UK to reinvestigate the disappearance of her older sister, Princess Shamsa.

Princess Latifa, who says she has been held captive in a “villa jail” in Dubai by her father Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum since an attempt to flee in 2018, said Shamsa was also captured by her father.

Shamsa, now 38, was abducted from the streets of Cambridge on August 19, 2000 and has never been seen in public since. It is believed she was returned to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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”.

In a letter from Latifa to the force, obtained by the BBC, she wrote: “All I ask of you 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 has strong links to England… she really loves England, all of her fondest memories are of her time there.”

A 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.

“In addition, we are also looking at the contents of the recent BBC Panorama documentary to identify whether it includes anything of significance to our case.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the issue is a matter for the police: “[He] said last week Princess Latifa’s claims of being held against her will are obviously concerning.

“But with regards to the abduction of Princess Shamsa, that [investigation] was conducted by Cambridge Constabulary.”

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

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.”