In August 2000, Princess Shamsa, a member of the Emirati royal family, took a black Range Rover, drove it to the edge of the $130 million British estate that belonged to her father Sheik Mohammed, abandoned the car and made a dash for freedom.
Despite enjoying a life of unparalleled luxury and wealth, Shamsa, then only 18, was desperate to escape the restrictive confines of her life.
About two months after Shamsa escaped, according to reports, she was allegedly abducted from the street in Cambridge, “grabbed kicking and screaming” and flown back to the UAE. (“If this happened like she says, it was well done, quite a well-planned operation in that they got her out before anyone knew about it,” a source has told the Guardian.)
In March 2001, a woman claiming to be Shamsa contacted Cambridge Police, outlining her alleged abduction, however the investigation soon after stalled.
Shamsa has not been seen in public since then.
Shamsa has not been seen in public for 20 years. Picture: Free LatifaSource:Supplied
Now, a woman who has spent time with the Emirati royal family has painted a deeply troubling portrait of what Shamsa’s life has allegedly been like for the last 19 years, having personally come into contact with her during her time in Dubai.
She says that for nearly two decades, Shamsa has been tortured, jailed and drugged and such is Shamsa’s suffering, she has allegedly attempted suicide three times.
Tiina Jauhiainen moved to the gulf state in 2001 and came into contact with the ruling family of the oil-rich nation in 2010 when she was hired to give Shamsa’s sister, Princess Latifa, capoeira lessons.
In the ensuing years, Tiina and Latifa became close friends, later taking up skydiving together.
Slowly, Latifa started to tell Finnish-born Tiina about her own horrifying treatment at the hands of her family — that she had spent more than three years in jail and been allegedly beaten after she too had attempted to flee Dubai in 2002 when she was 16 years old.
In March, 2018 Tiina tried to help Latifa escape for a second time. The two women drove across the border to Oman, then endured a 40km jet ski and inflatable boat ride, before meeting former French French navy officer Hervé Jaubert aboard his yacht in international waters.
Tiina (right) and Latifa (left) during their short-lived escape. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied
The trio planned to sail to Goa, and from there, Latifa would make her way to the US.
Instead, commandos allegedly from Indian and Emirati armed forces boarded the boat and seized them.
After spending two weeks in jail in Dubai, Tiina was released and has been working tirelessly to draw global attention to her friend’s plight ever since, launching the Free Latifa movement.
In December 2018, the Emirati royal family released images of Latifa with former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson in an attempt to prove that Latifa was fine. Instead, the shots of her looking dazed only generated even greater international concern for the 33-year-old’s wellbeing.
However, her sister’s fate has largely remained a mystery. That is, until now.
Speaking exclusively to news.com.au, Tiina has provided a deeply troubling insight into Shamsa’s fate.
“(Shamsa) was kidnapped in UK in 2000. She was forcibly taken back to UAE where she was held in prison for eight years,” Tiina says.
While in jail, Shamsa was beaten on the feet with wooden canes, Tiina says that Latifa had told her.
Missing person Arab princess Sheikha Shamsa al-Maktoum. Picture: SuppliedSource:News Limited
Shamsa was released from jail around 2008, however was imprisoned again two years ago after attempting to contact the British media and the Cambridge police who had briefly investigated her alleged kidnapping in 2001.
This time, “she was locked up in a room in her mother’s house,” says Tiina, where “she has been (kept) drugged up”.
During her time in Dubai, Tiina personally saw Shamsa on two occasions.
“(The) first time I met Shamsa was at the (royal family’s) private sporting complex (in 2011). She seemed dazed and very unhappy. She looked uncomfortable and sad and she was waiting for her PT to arrive,” says Tiina. “She looked very, very unwell.”
Five years later, when Tiina next encountered Shamsa, the Princess’ appearance had drastically changed.
“The second time I saw her was at (another) sister’s wedding in 2016. Shamsa had lost so much weight that she was unrecognisable, she looked like an anorexic, extremely skinny and Latifah told me that she had actually stopped eating,” says Tiina. “She is like a zombie.”
According to Tiina, Latifa had told her that her sister had attempted suicide three times.
“She couldn’t take it anymore,” says Tiina.
Shamsa tried to flee her family in 2000, but was subsequently kidnapped and returned to Dubai. Picture: Free LatifaSource:Supplied
In a video shot before Latifa fled Dubai in 2018 and released after her capture, Latifa details harrowing details of Shamsa’s treatment, along with other female members of the family, and her own torture.
“Basically one guy was holding me while the other guy was beating me and they did that repeatedly,” says Latifa. “The next time I was tortured it was for five hours and I was pulled from the bed, driven to another location in the palace and they tortured me.”
Both sisters are still being held against their will, according to Tiina.
This week, Princess Haya, Sheik Mohammed’s junior wife will face off against him in the UK high court as the couple fight for custody of their two young children.
There are reports that Haya escaped Dubai earlier this year after learning the truth about her autocratic husband’s treatment of Shamsa and Latifa. Given the Sheik’s standing as a father will most likely be called into question in court, there is every chance new details about Shamsa and Latifa will emerge.
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the races in England in 2017. Picture: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I think that having been married to Sheikh Mohammed for over 15 years (Princess Haya) must have finally opened her eyes and realised what kind of person he is. She must have wanted to ensure safety for herself and her children,” says Tiina.
She is now hopeful that Haya’s incredibly high-profile case will help secure Shamsa and Latifa’s freedom. “I wouldn’t have dedicated the past 16 months for campaigning for Latifa’s freedom if I didn’t believe it would one day become reality.
“I wish the same for Shamsa too and in light of the upcoming hearing of Princess Haya, the chances of Latifa and Shamsa have been drastically improved too.”
For more information about Latifa and Shamsa, visit the Free Latifa campaign.
Article Source https://news.com.au