Ruler plans the kidnapping and torture of his own children. Documents unsealed in custody case.
Ruler of Dubai, 70-year-old Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, “orchestrated the abductions, torture and imprisonment of two of his princess daughters,” according to documents recently unsealed. High Court Judge Andrew McFarlane’s ruling was part of a “fact-finding” judgment that was tied to a separate child custody case between Sheikh Mohammed and his estranged ex-wife, Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussein.
Al-Maktoum initially launched legal action in Britain in May of last year against Princess Haya, 45, seeking the return of their two children, ages 12 and 8, to Dubai. Princess Haya, who is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, is Sheikh Mohammed’s sixth wife and wants their children to remain in Britain. The princess was educated and lives in Britain and fears the children could be in danger if they are returned to Dubai. Princess Haya’s attorneys argued Sheikh Mohammed’s treatment of his two older daughters showed their children were at risk of being abducted too.
The ruling relates to events surrounding the disappearances of two of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters from a previous marriage: Princess Shamsa, who disappeared in Cambridge when she was 19; and Princess Latifa, who planned her escape from Dubai’s ruling family for seven years, running away from what she said was “her father’s oppressive and cruel treatment.” She was seized by an Indian army in 2018 and returned to Dubai when she was 32. She sought to flee the city-state on a private sailing yacht captained by a former French intelligence officer.
Sheikh Mohammed filed an appeal to keep the court records sealed, but this was rejected after the court ruled it to be in the public interest. The judgment found the princess’ allegations about the threats she and her children faced from Sheikh Mohammed were credible due to the abductions of Princess Shamsa and Princess Latifa.
Princess Shamsa has not been seen in public for two decades and before she herself was returned to Dubai, Princess Latifa claimed in a video published on YouTube that her sister was being drugged. Princess Latifa has only appeared in public once since her abduction. She appeared dazed and confused.
After the ruling, Sheikh Mohammed said “as a head of government, I was not able to participate in the court’s fact-finding process. This has resulted in the release of a fact-finding judgment which inevitably only tells one side of the story.” He has been Dubai’s leader since 2006 and his net worth is estimated at $4 billion. He is well-known in horse racing circle, breeding and operating two horse farms in Kentucky.
Laws in the United Arab Emirates prioritizes men when it comes to marriage, divorce and custody of children. Domestic violence is legal.
Princess Haya told the court her ex-husband tried to have her abducted by helicopter, that he left loaded guns without the safety on, on her bedroom pillows, and that he published a poem, directed at her, titled “You Lived and Died.”
“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 of the country’s ruler in court.