Princess Shamsa, a daughter of Dubai's ruler, was 18 when she fled from her father's estate in Surrey, England, in 2000. She was nabbed on a street in Cambridge two months later and hasn't been seen in public since, though Cambridgeshire police are now looking into the case at the request of Shamsa's younger sister. Princess Latifa, who claims to have been held hostage by her father since her own escape attempt in 2018, urged police to reinvestigate "because it could get [Shamsa] her freedom" in a handwritten letter received by officers on Wednesday. The BBC reports it passed through friends and was written in 2019 while Latifa was held in a boarded-up villa monitored by police. The UK's High Court determined Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum—a friend of the queen and one of the largest private landowners in the UK—abducted and held captive both princesses.
In secretly recorded videos, Latifa said she'd been held in solitary confinement ever since a failed attempt to escape her father's clutches. She has also described how Shamsa was flown back to Dubai and "tortured" during eight years in prison following her escape. Released in 2008, Shamsa "had to be led around by her hand" because she was given pills that "made her like a zombie," Latifa said, per the BBC. A 2001 investigation into Shamsa's case fizzled when investigators were blocked from visiting Dubai. Police now say Latifa's letter will factor into an "ongoing review." There's also concern for Latifa, whose communications have stopped. A family statement claims she's being cared for at home "and we are hopeful she will return to public life at the appropriate time," per Sky News. The sheikh previously told the High Court that he felt "relief" at having found the "vulnerable" Shamsa in 2000. (Read more Dubai stories.)