Judge: Dubai ruler threatened wife, had daughters abducted

Jill Lawless and Danica Kirka
March 5, 2020, Associated Press News

The ruler of Dubai conducted a campaign of fear and intimidation against his estranged wife and ordered the abduction of two of his daughters, a British judge ruled in documents that were unsealed Thursday.

A judge at the High Court in London found that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 70, “acted in a manner from the end of 2018 which has been aimed at intimidating and frightening” his ex-wife Princess Haya, 45.

Judge Andrew McFarlane also said the sheikh “ordered and orchestrated” the abductions and forced return to Dubai of two of his adult daughters from another marriage: Sheikha Shamsa in August 2000, and Sheikha Latifa in 2002 and again in 2018.

The judge made rulings in December and January after a battle between the estranged spouses over the welfare of their two children, but the sheikh fought to prevent them from being made public. The U.K Supreme Court quashed that attempt on Thursday.

Princess Haya, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, married the Dubai ruler in 2004, becoming his second official wife, the court said. Sheikh Mohammed also has several unofficial wives. The couple have a daughter, Jalila, 12, and 8-year-old son Zayed, the youngest of the ruler’s 25 children.

In April 2019, Princess Haya fled the Gulf emirate with her children, saying she had become terrified of her husband’s threats and intimidation.

The threats continued after the princess moved to London, the judge said, adding that the sheikh had used the apparatus of the state “to threaten, intimidate, mistreat and oppress with a total disregard for the rule of law.”

In May 2019, Sheikh Mohammed launched legal action, seeking the children’s return to Dubai, while Princess Haya asked for them to be made wards of the British court and stay in the U.K.

The sheikh later dropped his bid to take the children back to Dubai, and fought unsuccessfully to prevent the court issuing a fact-finding judgment on his wife’s allegations.

The judge