Ex-wife of nephew of Dubai ruler 'homeless and trapped' in UAE: report

Ex-wife of nephew of Dubai ruler 'homeless and trapped' in UAE: report
Zeynab Javadli, a former Azerbaijani gymnast who was married to Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum, is 'trapped' in a Dubai hotel and is fighting a custody battle to keep her children, according to the BBC.
2 min read
12 October, 2022
Zeynab Javadli said she was trapped in a Dubai hotel with her children [Getty]

Zeynab Javadli, the ex-wife of a member of Dubai’s royal family, has published an emotional video appealing for help and saying that she has been ‘trapped’ in the UAE since her 2019 divorce, the BBC has reported. 

Javadli, a former gymnast from Azerbaijan, was married to Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum, the nephew of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid al Maktoum. 

"Please help me," Ms Javadli said in a video obtained by the BBC. "My children and I are terrified and frightened for our lives and safety."

"We are homeless, effectively, and trapped in a hotel in Dubai, with my children unable to leave without fear that I might be arrested and have my children taken from me."

"We are hostages in our home," she added in the harrowing video. 

Javadli’s lawyers have said that she has faced abuse, harassment and intimidation during a custody battle with her ex-husband, and have appealed to the UN Human Rights Council for help. 

In their appeal, her lawyers said that Javadli and her children were attacked when Dubai police broke into their house two years ago. Javadli's parents have since returned to Azerbaijan. 

Saeed bin Maktoum’s lawyers have argued that Javadli is an unfit mother, a charge she has denied. 

Javadli is currently keeping her children at home and not sending them to school, according to the BBC, as she is afraid they might be abducted and never returned to her. 

The New Arab has contacted the government of Dubai for comment. 

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This is not the first time a princess from the UAE has allegedly faced abuse at the hands of the royal family. Princess Haya - the ex-wife of Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid al Maktoum - fled the Emirates in 2019 saying she feared for her life. She won sole custody of her two children earlier this year. 

In 2018, Princess Latifa tried to flee from her family by attempting to sail across the Indian Ocean. She was 'rescued' and returned to Dubai soon after.