London: The lawyers for Princess Latifa, who was allegedly abducted by men working for her father – Dubai’s powerful ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said they are writing to Scotland Yard chief to launch a criminal investigation following a London High Court finding that the royal had kidnapped his daughters.
Last week, a judge in the Family Court division ruled that the Sheikh had “ordered and orchestrated” the kidnap of Latifa, who had escaped from Dubai in 2018 before being snatched from a boat in the Arabian Sea.
“On two occasions in June 2002 and February 2018, the father ordered and orchestrated the forcible return of his daughter Princess Latifa to the family home in Dubai. In 2002 the return was from the border of Dubai with Oman, and in 2018 it was by an armed commando assault at sea near the coast of India,” notes the court order by Judge Andrew Mcfarlane dated March 5.
The ruling followed a long-drawn custody battle between the Sheikh and his sixth and youngest wife, 45-year-old Princess Haya. Sheikh Mohammed, who did not attend court, denies any wrongdoing.
Radha Stirling, a lawyer who represents Latifa, told The Sunday Times that she would be writing to the Metropolitan Police commissioner to raise the plight of the princess and her sister Shamsa, who was kidnapped from a street in Cambridge in 2000.
Stirling said: “The only logical step is for Sheikh Mohammed to face an investigation and trial. Heads of state cannot behave like criminal kingpins.”
The move follows a Cambridgeshire Police statement that it plans to review Princess Shamsa’s kidnap case from back in 2000.
“An investigation into the alleged abduction of Shamsa Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum in 2000 was carried out by Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 2001. With the evidence that was available to us this was insufficient to take any further action,” Cambridgeshire Police said.
“However, in light of the recent release of the judgment, aspects of the case will now be subject to review,” the statement said.
There are also reports of Queen Elizabeth II, who has a close relationship with the Dubai ruler for decades through their shared love of racing, distancing herself from the Sheikh. The 93-year-old British monarch will now reportedly make sure that she is not in a situation where she is likely to be photographed with him or his estranged wife Princess Haya, ‘The Times’ reports.
As well as being the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed is vice-president and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven semi- autonomous states. He has said that the legal battle in the UK presents only a one-sided view and had tried to keep the High Court findings secret. But the case was ruled to be in the public interest, with the media embargo was lifted earlier this week.
Dubai is a key intelligence and defence partner in the Gulf for the UK, with the UAE one of the biggest markets for British arms manufacturers, and the High Court ruling is seen as having a potential impact on relations.
Downing Street released a readout from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi – the de-facto leader of the UAE, on Friday as a sign of the UK’s diplomatic overtures related to the region.
“They agreed to work closely together to strengthen our bilateral ties in areas such as trade and investment and counter-terrorism, and on global issues such as climate change – ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow this year,” Downing Street said.