Dubai ruler's runaway wife seeks forced marriage protection for children in British court
The estranged wife of the ruler of Dubai has applied for a British forced marriage protection order relating to their children, a London court heard on Tuesday.
Princess Haya, 45, the runaway wife of 70-year-old United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, has applied for the order, as well as for wardship of their children, and a non-molestation order relating to herself, the High Court heard.
The princess fled Dubai earlier this year and the couple are now locked in a legal battle in London over the welfare of their two children.
At a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Judge Andrew McFarlane allowed media to report that Princess Haya, a Jordanian royal, had made the applications.
The court also heard that Sheikh Mohammed has applied to the High Court for the summary return of the children to Dubai.
The 45-year-old half-sister of the king of Jordan reportedly planned her escape to London after learning about her husband's cruel treatment of his eldest daughter, Princess Latifa, who made headlines after attempting to escape last year.
After a previous hearing held in private in London, the couple issued a statement relating to the nature of the case.
"These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances," it said.
It said the preliminary case management hearing would "deal with issues relating to how to proceed to a final hearing to determine the welfare issues".
Princess Haya is a daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and a half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan. The princess was in court for the proceedings while Sheikh Mohammed was not.
A small anti-Sheikh Mohammed demonstration took place outside the courts complex.
The clash between Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya is the latest sign of trouble in Dubai's ruling family.
Last year, Sheikh Mohammed's daughter Latifa allegedly attempted to flee the kingdom in a high-profile saga in April 2018, after releasing a video detailing years of horrific abuse and torture she suffered at the hands of her father and the Emirati authorities.
Latifa's friends and supporters say commandos stormed a boat she was using to flee to India.
She has been seen only once since, in a photo with former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson who visited the Al Maktoum family residence in December 2018, which critics called a mere PR stunt.
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