LONDON – Dubai‘s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum ordered the abduction of two of his daughters and orchestrated a campaign of intimidation against his former wife, a British judge has ruled.
Judge Andrew McFarlane said he accepted as proved a series of allegations made by Mohammed’s former wife, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, 45, half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah, during a custody battle over their two children at London’s High Court.
Haya fled to London on April 15 last year with the children, Jalila, 12, and Zayed, 8, fearing for her safety amid suspicions that she had had an affair with one of her British bodyguards.
As part of the ensuing custody case, Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Court division in England and Wales, made a series of “findings of fact” about allegations raised by Haya during hearings over the last nine months.
McFarlane said he accepted her claim that Mohammed arranged for his daughter Shamsa, then aged 18, to be kidnapped off the streets of Cambridge in central England in 2000, and had her flown back to Dubai.
He also ruled it was proved that the sheik had arranged for Shamsa’s younger sister Latifa to be snatched from a boat in international waters off India by Indian forces in 2018 and returned to the emirate in what was her second failed escape attempt.
Both remained there “deprived of their liberty,” McFarlane said.
In the judgements published on Thursday, McFarlane accepted that the sheik subjected Haya to a campaign of intimidation which made her fear for her life.
He said the sheik, who married Haya in 2004, had divorced her on the 20th anniversary of the death of her father King Hussein of Jordan, timing she said was deliberate.
“I have … concluded that, save for some limited exceptions, the mother has proved her case with respect to the factual allegations she has made,” McFarlane said.
The sheik, 70, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, did not appear himself during the court case and instructed his lawyers not to put forward a challenge to the claims, which his lawyers said he rejected.
The judge’s conclusions were made in December but could only be reported after restrictions were lifted on Thursday after the U.K. Supreme Court earlier rejected Mohammed’s request for permission to appeal against their publication.