There are requests for independent investigations into the roles of the Foreign Ministry and the Cambridgeshire police after an investigation into the kidnapping of a princess on a British street was allowed to expire.
Dubai’s Shamsa Al Maktoum was kidnapped two decades ago by men who worked for her father, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, the billionaire ruler of Dubai, a friend of the queen.
Politicians and human rights groups have said that investigations are crucial to rule out political interference in investigations and to maintain public confidence in the rule of law.
The requests came amidst extraordinary claims that Shamsa had contacted the Cambridgeshire force in 2017, asking her to help her secure her release from Dubai, 17 years after being kidnapped in Cambridge.
The force is already under control after the bomb sentence in the family division of the supreme court, published last week, which established that Sheikh Mohammed had kidnapped both Shamsa and his younger sister, Princess Latifa.
The “fact-finding” ruling found that Shamsa had fled the Surrey estate to the Dubai family in 2000, but men who worked for her father captured her in Cambridge and forced her to return to Dubai, where she was detained. against his will for 20 years.
A request by David Beck, the Cambridgeshire detective in charge of the kidnapping investigation, to interview potential witnesses in Dubai, was rejected in 2002, the court heard. The force subsequently claimed that it did not have enough evidence to proceed and the investigations have expired.
David Haigh, a human rights attorney, shared confidential information with the Cambridgeshire police regarding the two princesses in 2018 and 2019 as he sought to reopen the investigation into Shamsa’s kidnapping.
During his meetings with detectives, Haigh said that a female detective had told him that Shamsa had telephoned in 2017 to ask for help from the force.
Haigh said to the Observer: “He said ‘I was here when you [Shamsa] she called us six months ago “and I said” oh “and then she said,” didn’t you know? “”
Cambridgeshire police confirmed that they conducted a further review of the original investigation in 2017, only to conclude again that there was insufficient evidence for further action.
A force spokesman said: “As with any crime, it is inappropriate for us to comment on any victim’s specific contacts or accounts. As for the IOPC [Independent Office for Police Conduct] is concerned, since the release of the public judgment the case is now subject to further review by us. It will take some time to progress, but if a referral is needed it will be a discussion area. “
Last week’s ruling also detailed Latifa’s two unsuccessful attempts to flee the United Arab Emirates, most recently in 2018 when he tried to escape by yacht. Radha Stirling, CEO of Dubai Inmate, who advised authorities of Latifa’s kidnapping in 2018 and presented evidence to the United Nations and FBI, confirmed that both women made “ongoing attempts to spread the their messages. “
Downing Street insisted that the Foreign Office played no role in investigating Shamsa’s kidnapping or its outcome.
But the Foreign Ministry confirmed that it holds information relevant to the investigation, which it refused to disclose to the supreme court, claiming that it would damage the UK’s relations with the United Arab Emirates.
“Given the seriousness of the allegations regarding the due diligence of the Cambridgeshire police during the investigation into the disappearance of Princess Shamsa, a self-reference to the IOCP is the right course of action,” said Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International in the UK .
“It is of paramount importance that public confidence in the police is not compromised by cases like this, even when there are claims for political interference at the highest level.”
Christine Jardine, spokesman for the internal affairs of the Liberal Democrats, said: “The government must now establish an independent investigation into the role played by the Foreign Ministry in preventing investigations from continuing. The British people need to know who made these decisions and why. “
Stirling also supported an investigation into the role of the Foreign Ministry, saying: “If he did not allow an investigation into the illegal kidnapping of a woman, they sent a dangerous message to the United Arab Emirates, essentially sanctioning this behavior.”
Haigh said activists seeking the release of Shamsa and Latifa “are about to start creating a real nuisance for ourselves” by targeting the horse racing industry. The Sheikh is the most powerful person in British racing, requiring owners to pass an “adequate and adequate test”.
After publishing the ruling last week, the sheikh said: “As head of government, I was unable to participate in the court’s assessment process; this resulted in the release of a” fact-finding “judgment which inevitably tells only one side of the story “.
Human Rights Watch Rothna Begum said: “The UAE authorities should immediately release Sheikha Shamsa and Sheikha Latifa, allow them to leave the UAE if they wish, investigate the kidnapping and torture allegations and make those responsible responsible. ”
Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum Sovereign of Dubai, close friend of the queen, father of Shamsa and Latifa
Sheikha Shamsa Daughter who was kidnapped in Cambridge in 2000 and taken back to Dubai
Sheikha Latifa Daughter captured while trying to escape the United Arab Emirates on a yacht in 2018
Princess Haya Bint Al HussEin Ex-wife of Sheikh Mohammed, who arrived in the UK with their two children in 2019. The ensuing battle for custody led to the court case
Tiina Jauhiainen Finnish citizen and friend of Latifa who was aboard the yacht. He led campaigns for the release of his friend
DCI David Beck Cambridgeshire police detective who was prevented from going to Dubai to interview potential witnesses of Shamsa’s kidnapping in 2002