PublishedFebruary 25, 2021, 6:43 pm
Sheikah Latifa pleads for release from her captivity in videos. She also thinks of her older sister. Princess Shamsa was also kidnapped by her father, the Emir of Dubai, and arrested at home. She has never been seen in public since then.
The daughter of the Emir of Dubai, Sheikha Latifa, makes from their alleged imprisonment in Dubai on the fate of her older sister Shamsa – and begs the British authorities to take action. Princess Shamsa was kidnapped and taken to Dubai in 2000. She was then 18 years old. She has never been seen publicly since.
Shamsa had fled an estate belonging to her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum in the English county of Surrey while on vacation in England. After two months on the run, her father’s men found her, “drugged” her, brought her back to Dubai and “locked up” her, writes Shamsa’s younger sister in a letter to the BBC is present.
The letter was handed over to the police
The handwritten letter is said to be from 2019, when the now 35-year-old Latifa was locked in a villa in Dubai after her own failed escape. In order to cover up the fact that she had contact with the outside world, the letter is said to have been dated to an earlier date.
Friends of Sheikha Latifa handed the handwritten letter to Cambridgeshire police. The police confirmed the existence of the letter to the AFP news agency. He is being “investigated” as part of an “ongoing review” of the investigation into Princess Shamsa’s disappearance.
The Cambridge police began investigating the Shamsa kidnapping case back in 2011. However, these did not lead to success – also because investigators could not investigate on site in Dubai. One of the investigators who wanted to fly told the BBC: “I have not been given any reason why I am not allowed to go to Dubai.”
Emir of Dubai has powerful connections
Nevertheless, the investigations were resumed several times. Just last year, a London court found Sheik Mohammed responsible for the kidnappings of Latifa and her older sister and for the intimidation of one of his wives. In connection with the letter that has now become known, the police say that in this “complicated and serious case” it is not appropriate to discuss details in public. The government also refused to comment on the latest developments at the request of the BBC.
The Emir of Dubai has powerful connections in Great Britain: Queen Elizabeth’s friend owns more private land on the island than almost anyone else and is courted by London, which sees Dubai and the United Arab Emirates as key allies and business partners in the region.
“Shamsa is no longer Shamsa”
According to Sheikha Latifa, after trying to escape, her sister Shamsa spent eight years in a prison, where she was also physically abused by beating the soles of her feet. She was “released” in 2008. “She had to be shown around by the hand. She couldn’t open her eyes. She had been given so many pills to control her. She was like a zombie, »says Latifa.
A cousin of the two confirms this: “She was immobilized. Everything she did now was controlled. She had no more spark, no fighting spirit. There was nothing left. It was just an empty shell ». In 2019, Latifa met her sister again – after her own failed attempt to escape. Her cousin warned her: “You won’t recognize her again. She was drugged like this. She is alive. But Shamsa is no longer Shamsa. ”
Since her attempt to escape, Princess Latifa has reported in videos how she was being held and threatened in a villa in Dubai without fresh air, access to the outside world or medical care. Friends recently made more videos available to the BBC after hearing nothing from the princess for months. The United Nations demanded a sign of life. Latifa’s family explained that the Sheikha was “looked after at home” – what is meant by this, you can read it here.
AI: politics of systematic repression
“Dubai has this glittering, modern facade, but civil status law is still heavily influenced by traditional Islamic jurisprudence,” says Eckart Woertz, director of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies in Hamburg, of the German press agency. The social roles, rights and duties of men and women differ considerably – although not as extreme as in neighboring Saudi Arabia a few years ago. Until recently, women were not allowed to drive alone or leave the country without the permission of a male guardian.
According to the scientist, families are a very demarcated area for the Emirati population. “The general attitude is: You don’t get involved – especially not with a sheikh.” In the case of the princess, an open discussion, for example on social media, would also be dangerous. “Everyone knows that if he started sending solidarity messages on Twitter now, he could face jail time.”
“The UAE authorities have a policy of systematically suppressing any form of dissent or criticism,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa. Activists, judges and journalists are arbitrarily detained, ill-treated and tortured. The case of Sheikha Latifa and Sheikha Shamsa are “simply the most public example of this alarmingly oppressive climate.”
Im Video: Princess Latifa secretly recorded videos from her captivity in Dubai. Her friends haven’t heard from her for months either.
(gux / DPA)