Dubai ruler ‘to make last-ditch attempt’ to keep child custody battle with Princess Haya secret

Steve Bird
February 28, 2020, The Telegraph

The princess fled Dubai to London with her two children last Summer apparently ‘in fear for her life’

The ruler of Dubai is expected to make a last-ditch attempt to try to keep his child custody battle with Princess Haya secret after losing a Court of Appeal ruling.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoun, 70, has until Tuesday afternoon to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court to try to prevent the publication of two judgments containing details of his relationship with his youngest and now estranged wife.

Those judgments, which follow months of High Court hearings, remain private because the billionaire sheikh has the option to go to the highest court in Britain.

The 45-year-old princess fled Dubai to London with her two children last Summer apparently “in fear for her life”.

The father, who is also the vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and a friend of the Queen, applied to the British courts for the “summary return” to Dubai of the two children, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The Jordanian princess then lodged an application for their children to be made wards of court, as well as a forced marriage protection order in relation to one child, and a non-molestation order.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division, has presided over numerous hearings before making a series of rulings and findings which he wants now made public.

Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum attend the Epsom Derby in 2013  (CREDIT: REX)

The Sheikh, who founded the successful Godolphin horse racing stables, applied to prevent  publication of the judgments due to “certain disputed factual issues” at the Court of Appeal yesterday.

However, Lord Justice Underhill announced the appeal court’s unanimous decision to refuse the application, forcing the Middle Eastern ruler to decide whether to lodge a further appeal at the Supreme Court.

The Telegraph is part of a Press application to have the judgments made public.

The high court case has heard from Tiina Jauhiainen – a friend of Princess Latifa, another of the sheikh’s daughters – as well as a retired police officer regarding two of the sheikh’s other daughters.

Ms Jauhiainen has previously publicly told how she helped Princess Latifa attempt to flee the UAE aboard a yacht, before she was allegedly abducted and taken back to Dubai in March 2018 by men acting on behalf of her father.

The couple attend the Investec Derby Festival, celebrating The Queen’s 90th Birthday, in 2016  (CREDIT: David M. Benett /Getty)

The court also heard from David Beck, a retired senior police officer, who investigated the disappearance from Cambridge in 2000 of Princess Shamsa, another of the sheikh’s daughters from a different mother.

Human rights campaigners have claimed she was kidnapped by her father and flown from Britain to the United Arab Emirates in August 2000. The princess, now 39, has not been seen since.

Mr Beck told a recent television documentary “there may have been some substance” to claims she was abducted.

Details of any evidence they gave to the high court hearings cannot be published.