Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. File picture: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. File picture: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Dubai princess begged Britain for help 17 years after father ordered her abduction

By CLAIRE DUFFIN Time of article published Mar 9, 2020

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London - The beleaguered ruler of Dubai has been seen in public for the first time since a damning court ruling as it emerged one of his daughters called British police to plead for her release 17 years after he had her abducted.

The appearance of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 70, at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai came days after the High Court in London found he kidnapped two of his children.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division of the High Court, ruled that he organised the forced return to Dubai of Princess Shamsa, who was taken from outside a pub in Cambridgeshire in 2000, as well as her sister Latifa, snatched from a boat in the Arabian Sea in 2018.

The court also found he waged a campaign of fear against his sixth wife, Princess Haya, 45, who fled to Britain last year with their children, Jalila, 12, and Zayed, seven, scared for her life.

Calls grew on Sunday night for independent inquiries into the Foreign Office and Cambridgeshire Police after it emerged that Princess Shamsa called detectives from captivity herself, pleading for help to secure her release from Dubai.

She was 19 when she was kidnapped by her father’s henchmen outside a Cambridge bar in July 2000. She had run away from his Longcross estate near Chobham in Surrey – reportedly angry that he wouldn’t let her go to university and appalled by Dubai’s human rights record.

The police investigation into her abduction began in March 2001, when a British lawyer acting for her contacted detectives.

She then reportedly called British police herself from Dubai in 2017 – 16 years later, prompting Cambridgeshire Police to carry out a second probe.

The High Court ruling against the sheikh, who is worth £9billion and is a friend of the Queen, came after he began a case to demand the ‘summary return’ of Jalila and Zayed. But it backfired, with him losing his children. The court said his behaviour ran ‘contrary to the criminal law of England and Wales, international law and internationally accepted human rights norms’.

The court also heard the police probe into Princess Shamsa’s kidnap was allegedly shut down amid ‘interference’ by the Foreign Office as a diplomatic favour by the then Labour government.

The sheikh tried to keep the judgment out of the public domain but this was rejected.

The regulatory body for British horseracing is facing calls to review the sheikh’s status following the ruling. The sheikh owns hundreds of horses through his Godolphin stables in Newmarket, Suffolk.

Owners must register with the British Horseracing Authority, whose guidelines state it will consider an applicant’s honesty and integrity’.

MP Jo Stevens, who sits on the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, wants the authority to look at his registration.

The Queen is reportedly distancing herself from the sheikh, and Cambridgeshire Police is to review its investigations.

Daily Mail

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