Princess Haya: Dubai ruler banned from buying land next to her Surrey home amid child abduction fears

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Princess Haya: Dubai ruler banned from buying land next to her Surrey home amid child abduction fears
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The powerful Sheikh ruler of Dubai has been banned from buying land next to his estranged wife’s country estate, amid fears he will try to abduct their children.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has been at loggerheads with Princess Haya bint al-Hussein since she fled from their marriage in April 2019 with their two daughters.

A senior UK judge has ruled that the Sheikh orchestrated a “campaign of fear and intimidation” against his wife, and on Wednesday it was revealed he had spied on her and her legal team as they fought in the High Court.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division, has also imposed an unusual court order on the Sheikh, banning him from buying land next to the PrincessSurrey mansion.

He has imposed a “no fly zone” over the grounds of the home, Grade II listed Castlewood House, and has also prevented the Sheikh or his agents from coming within 100m of the property.

The court order, imposed last December and revealed for the first time on Wednesday, came after the Princess discovered a secret plot by the Sheikh – through his representatives – to strike a £30m deal for the 77 acre estate which looks down on to her home.

“The mother asserts…were he to spot an opportunity to do so, the father would not hesitate to attempt to abduct the two children in order to repatriate them to Dubai,” said Sir Andrew, in his ruling.

Charles Geekie QC, representing the Princess, told the court the Sheikh’s intended property is in “prime position for direct or electronic surveillance” of his estranged wife’s home.

It has been revealed that the Sheikh, the Emirate of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE, approved a spying operation on Princess Haya, her lawyers, her personal assistant, and security guards during their High Court battle last summer.

In the past, he has organised the capture of one of his daughters in Cambridge, to be flown back to Dubai, and used agents to thwart the attempt of another daughter to flee on a yacht.

After Princess Haya, an Oxford-educated Jordanian Royal, fled from their marriage with two other daughters, the Sheikh published a poem about “swords of pain” and “vengeance” which was interpreted as a threat to his runaway wife.

Agreeing to the non-molestation order, Sir Andrew ruled: “She believes that her own life and wellbeing are at extreme risk because her actions have greatly angered the father, who has made explicit threats, albeit in the context of poetry, encouraging others to kill her.

“The mother’s need for security for herself and the children must be assessed against that background. What might be considered reasonable for an ordinary citizen may not be sufficient either to protect the mother and children, or at least to enable them to feel less intimidated or under threat.

“In circumstances where it takes but a moment to snatch a child from a garden or a country lane, the ability to undertake close covert surveillance so that a would-be abductor can know or predict the precise whereabouts of the child and any security detail would be most valuable.

“Thus the need to prevent the father, or those acting on his behalf, from coming close to the mother’s property is, in my view, fully made out on the basis of previous findings, even after taking account, as I do, of the fact that there is no evidence that they have in fact done so.”

The Sheikh’s representatives pulled out of the purchase of the property next to Castlewood just a few days after it was revealed in the High Court, and after lengthy periods of “withholding information” about the deal, the court heard.

The judge approved an “exclusion zone” around the Princess’ home, prohibited entry to a lane leading past and to the property, a no-entry cordon, and a ban on aircraft, drones, and other crafts flying between 1,000 feet and the ground around the home.

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