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UK court says Sheikh Mohammed threatened Princess Haya and kidnapped daughters


Picture by Mark Thomas / i-Images

Britain’s High Court confirmed that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, abducted two of his daughters and threatened Princess Haya.

The Sheikh had been fighting to keep the judgment secret, but his appeals were denied as the case is of public interest. The Ruler of Dubai was found not to have “been open and honest with the court.”

Yesterday, the High Court, presided over by Judge Andrew McFarlane, published a Fact-Finding Judgement (FFJ) in favour of Princess Haya.

It heard from numerous witnesses and found that the Sheikh was responsible for the kidnap and forced return of two of his daughters – from another wife – to Dubai.

Sheikha Shamsa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum fled the Sheikh’s UK estate in 2000. The Sheikh’s agents abducted her in Cambridgeshire and returned her to Dubai where she’s been in captivity ever since.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum attempted to escape the country in 2018 and made a dramatic video exposing her father’s nature to the world. She was captured in the Indian Ocean and returned to Dubai with many fearing for her safety. Her video was used as evidence, and her allegations of physical abuse and torture were deemed credible. She’s now under house arrest in Dubai. She had previously attempted to escape in 2002.

The FFJ said that the Ruler of Dubai “continues to maintain a regime whereby both these two young women are deprived of their liberty”.

It also said, “The mother made a number of allegations to the effect that the father had conducted a campaign, by various means, with the aim of harassing, intimidating or otherwise putting the mother in great fear both in early 2019 when she was still in Dubai and at all times since her move to England in April 2019.”

Princess Haya left Dubai in fear for her life, with her two children, in 2019. She had become suspicious of the stories regarding Sheikhas Shamsa and Latifa, and when she began voicing her concerns in 2019, intimidation tactics began. Twice a gun with the safety catch off was placed on her pillow, and a helicopter landed in the UK to threaten to abduct her and take her to a secluded desert prison.

The Princess was involved in an affair with her British bodyguard, as well, during this time. The Sheikh divorced Princess Haya on 7 February 2019 – the 20th anniversary of her father, King Hussein’s death – without her knowledge, under Sharia law. Haya said he chose the date to “maximise insult and upset to her.”

Haya said that in May 2019, the Sheikh told her, “You and the children will never be safe in England.”

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How he used his media contacts to spread false and negative articles and information about Haya was also shared in court.

The judge said, “The father has therefore acted in a manner from the end of 2018 which has been aimed at intimidating and frightening the mother, and that he has encouraged others to do so on his behalf.”

After the FFJ release, the Sheikh released a statement saying it only represents one side of the story and asked for privacy for his and Haya’s two children:

“As a head of government, I was not able to participate in the court’s fact-finding process. This has resulted in the release of a ‘fact-finding’ judgment which inevitably only tells one side of the story.

“I ask that the media respect the privacy of our children and do not intrude into their lives in the UK.”

He also argued, again, about the publication of the judgment, “The appeal was made to protect the best interests and welfare of the children. The outcome does not protect my children from media attention in the way that other children in family proceedings in the UK are protected.”

Princess Haya
London, United Kingdom. Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein arrives at the High Court in July 2019. Picture by Mark Thomas / i-Images

Last July, Princess Haya – the half-sister of King Abdullah of Jordan and daughter of the late King Hussein – applied for a “forced marriage protection order” in England’s High Court. This protection order helps if someone is being forced into marriage or has already been forced into marriage. Princess Haya requested the order for her daughter.

She also applied for a “non-molestation order,” which is supposed to protect from harassment of threats. In addition, she applied for wardship, which means that the court makes any major decisions where children are concerned.

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Princess Haya had been present during the court hearings in London – her husband has not. The parties are being represented by two well-known family lawyers: Fiona Shackleton is representing Princess Haya while Helen Ward is representing Sheikh Mohammed. Princess Haya is the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and his third wife Queen Alia, and the half-sister of King Abdullah II. She married Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2004, and they have a seven-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter together. She is believed to have been his sixth wife, and he has around 20 children.



About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.