Abductions, torture, intimidation and death threats were just some of the alleged horrors perpetrated by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, according to a series of judgments by the High Court in London.
Against the wishes of Sheikh Mohammed, the court published the judgments, ruling they were in the public interest.
The judgments were part of an ongoing divorce and custody battle between the 70-year old billionaire and his sixth and youngest wife, Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussain, 45, who is the sister of King Abdullah of Jordan.
Princess Haya alleged that her husband was planning to marry their 11-year old daughter to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, which would have made her the second wife of a man 22 years her senior.
Basing its ruling on accounts by witnesses, the court revealed that the Dubai ruler was responsible for the abduction and continued captivity of two of his daughters from another marriage:
- Sheikha Shamsa, who escaped from the family’s UK estate in Surrey in 2000. Shamsa was later kidnapped in Cambridgeshire by agents of the sheikh and forcibly returned to Dubai where she remains in captivity until today. (Police in Cambridgeshire tried to visit Dubai to investigate but were not allowed.)
- Sheikha Latifa, who made two attempts to escape her family – one in 2002 and another in 2018. She was imprisoned by her father in Dubai for over three years after the first attempt. The second attempt she documented by video, which she posted on YouTube (see below). She hired a boat with a captain to escape the kingdom, but was thwarted when the boat was overtaken off the Indian coast by agents of her father. She remains in captivity until today.
Fearing for her life, Princess Haya fled the United Arab Emirates to the UK in April 2019. Since then, she has she has been subjected to a “campaign of fear and intimidation.”
Princess Haya’s lawyer said that even before she left, his client had been threatened as she began to doubt her husband’s version of the captivity of his two daughters (who he claimed had been “rescued” and returned to the family).
She received anonymous notes threatening the lives of her son and daughter. At one point, a helicopter landed outside her house. The pilot told her he had come to take a passenger to a desert prison.
Twice she said a gun was placed on her pillow with the safety latch off.
In early 2019, Princess Haya began an adulterous affair with her bodyguard.
The court also heard that the sheikh divorced Princess Haya without her knowledge on February 7, 2019 — the 20th anniversary of the death of her father, the previous king of Jordan — prompting the judge to state that it was “clear the date will have been chosen … to maximize insult and upset to her.”
The Dubai ruler, who is also the vice president and prime minister of the UAE, and Princess Haya have two children together, ages seven and 11. Sheikh Mohammed wants them returned to the UAE.