Dubai ruler 'ordered' kidnapping of his two children, says UK court ruling that may jeopardize ties between two states

The ruling follows months of private hearings and legal disputes that reached the Supreme Court.


                            Dubai ruler 'ordered' kidnapping of his two children, says UK court ruling that may jeopardize ties between two states
(Getty Images)
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Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, orchestrated the kidnapping of two of his children, including one from the streets of Cambridge, and subjected his youngest wife, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, to a campaign of "intimidation," a UK family court judgment has found.

The UK ruling risks destabilizing the nation's diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, which is a close ally of Britain. The judge, during the ruling, described the Dubai ruler's behavior amounting to potentially breaking UK and international law, according to the Guardian

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The ruling follows months of private hearings and legal disputes that reached the Supreme Court, where it was ruled that al-Maktoum “deprived [his daughters] of their liberty”.

Judge Andrew McFarlane said the sheikh "ordered and orchestrated" the abductions and forced return to Dubai of two of his adult daughters from another marriage: Sheikha Shamsa, then 19, in August 2000, and Sheikha Latifa in 2002 and again in 2018. The judge made the ruling in January but the sheikh fought to prevent it from being made public. The Supreme Court quashed that attempt on Thursday.

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The estranged wife of Dubai's ruler applied for protective orders in a British court in July 2019 using laws intended to safeguard victims of forced marriages and domestic abuse, while the sheik's lawyers requested that their two children be quickly returned to Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan attend Day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2014 in Ascot, England. (Getty Images)

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Princess Haya, 45, asked for a forced marriage protection order and a non-molestation order during a British High Court hearing that centered on the welfare of her two children with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The forced marriage protection order applied to the children. She asked for wardship of the children during the preliminary hearing. 

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The fact-finding ruling by Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division of the high court in England and Wales, recorded the event surrounding the disappearances of al-Maktoum's daughters: Princess Shamsa from Cambridge in 2000, when she was 19, and of Princess Latifa who was seized by Indian army commandos from the Indian Ocean in 2018, when she was 32. She was later forcibly returned to Dubai.

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With AP inputs