The billionaire ruler of in Dubai could be forced to give evidence about his treatment of the daughter who fled his palace in a High Court battle with his estranged wife.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is set for a courtroom battle with one of his wives, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, after she allegedly escaped to London with their two children fearing for her safety.
Sources suggest that his treatment of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, his daughter by another wife, will be a key argument in the custody fight.
It has been said that Princess Haya, 45, fled Dubai after discovering details behind the mysterious return of Sheikha Latifa, one of Sheikh Mohammed’s 23 children by different wives.
Sheikha Latifa dramatically fled UAE by boat in February 2018, posting a video at the time claiming she had been held as a virtual prisoner in the palace.
She was later intercepted by armed men off the coast of India. She was last seen in December in a video posted by her family.
There has been renewed scrutiny on her case since it emerged that Princess Haya became the third close relative of Sheikh Mohammed’s to leave Dubai in recent years.
Princess Haya is believed to be staying in the Emirati royal family’s £85 million house in Kensington Palace Gardens.
Sources close to the family say that the Princess, who along with her husband is a friend of the Queen, will seek asylum in Britain.
The Sheikh has made an application against his wife of 15 years in London’s Family Court. The case is before the President of the division for its next hearing on July 30.
It is understood that the case is about custody of the couple’s two children, aged 11 and 7, and sources said that they treatment of Sheikha Latifa will be a central argument.
David Haigh, a British lawyer representing the younger princess, said: “Her case is clearly evidence of why the children shouldn’t be sent back to the UAE. This has given us massive renewed hope for Latifa.”
Radha Stirling, CEO of campaign group Detained in Dubai, said: “The impact of Princess Haya’s escape from Dubai, and from her marriage to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, cannot be underestimated.
“It is inevitable that in her defence, Princess Haya will testify in court about all she knows regarding Sheikh Mohammed’s treatment of Latifa, and likely of Sheikha Shamsa as well.”