Judge Andrew McFarlane said he accepted as proved a series of allegations made by Mohammed’s former wife, Princess Haia bint al-Hussein, 45, half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah, during a custody battle over their two children at London’s High Court.
Haya field to London on April 15 last year with the children, Jalila, 12, and Zayed, 8, fearing for her safety amid suspicions that she had an affair with one of her British bodyguards.
As part of the ensuing case, Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Court division in Englang and Wlaes, made a series of ‘findings of fact’ about allegations raised by Haya during hearings over the last nine months.
McFarlane said he accepted her claim that Mohammed arranged for his daughter Shamsa, then aged 18, to be kidnapped off the streets of Cambridge in central England in 2000, and her flown back to Dubai.
He also ruled it was proved that the sheikh had arranged for Shamsa’s younger sister Latifa to be snatched from a boat in international waters off India by Indian forces in 2018 and returned to the emirate in what was her second failed escape attempt.
Both remained there ‘deprived of their liberty’, McFarlane said.
In the judgments published on Thursday, McFrane accepted that the sheikh subjected Haya to a campaign of intimidation which made her fear for her life.
He said the sheikh, who married Haya in 2004, had divorced her on the 20th anniversary of the death of her father King Hussein of Jordan, timing she said was deliberate.
‘I have…concluded that, save for some limited exceptions, the mother had proved her case with respect to the factual allegations she has made’, Mc Farlane said.
The sheikh, 70, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, did not appear himself during the court case and instructed his lawyers not to put forward a challenge to the claims, which his lawyers said he rejected.
The judge’s conclusions were made in December but could only be reported after restrictions were lifted on Thursday after the UK Supreme Court earlier rejected Mohammed’s request for permission to appeal against their publication.
McFarlane said the allegations made by Haya about the abduction and torture of Shamsa and Latifa and the threats made against her were proved, with the exception of her claim that an arranged marriage was being sought between Jalila and Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Last july, the judge has issued a temporary forced marriage protection order in respect of Jalila over Haya’s fears but
The sheikh married Haya, believed to be his sixth wife, in 2004. McFarlane said in his judgment that at some stage in 2017 or 2018, she had an affair with one her bodyguards and her relationship with her husband had deteriorated by early 2019 when she left Dubai.
Mohammed’s lawyer told court Haya had closed the children’s bank account and withdrawn about $32 million before arriving in Britain.
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Haya and Mohammed are both on friendly terms with members of the British royal family and in the past the sheikh, one of the founders of the Godolphin horse racing stable, has been pictured with Queen Elizabeth at Britain’s Royal Ascot horse races.
Haya, who shares his love of horses and competed in equestrian jumping in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, was schooled in Britain and is now living with their children in the couple’s luxury mansion near Kensington Palace in west London.
McFarlane said the case had been unique.
Outside the austere wood-panneled courtroom of the Royal Courts of Justice, four or five bodyguards wearing earpieces patrolled, with only lawyers and a small number of journalists, including Reuters, allowed to be presdent.
The lawyers’ benches were filled with some of Britian’s most senior legal operators including David Pannick, who successfully represented anti-Brexit campaigners in tow high-profile court victories over the government and was drafted in by Mohammed to lead his team during the case.
Haya herself attended all the hearings, accompanied by her legal team which included Fiona Shackleton who represented British heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles in his divorce from his late first wife Princess Diana.
Giving evidence in person last November, she told McFarlane she feared the sheikh would abduct her two children, take them back to the Gulf Arab state and she would never see them again.
‘I have seen what has happened to their sisters and I can’t face the fact that the same might happen to them’, she said.
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