LONDON (Reuters) – The High Court in London has ruled that the ex-wife of the ruler of Dubai should bear sole responsibility for the welfare of their children, citing his “domestic abuse” towards her.

The move marks the end of a three-year custody battle between Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and Princess Haya of Jordan. [L5N2VI22V]

Here is a timeline of the main events in the case, based on statements by lawyers and findings by the English courts.

June 2000 – Sheikha Shamsa, daughter of Mohammed and his Algerian wife Huriah Ahmed al M’aash, flees her family while on vacation in England. Two months later, she was abducted from the streets of Cambridge and brought back to Dubai.

Mohammed al-Shaibani, chief executive of the ruler’s court in Dubai, was closely implicated, according to a High Court ruling.

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April 2004 – Mohammed, ruler of Dubai and vice-president of the United Arab Emirates, marries Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, half-sister of Jordanian King Abdullah. They then have two children, Jalila and Zayed.

March 4, 2018 – Sheikha Latifa, Shamsa’s younger sister who tried to flee her family in 2002, tries to escape again. Armed Indian Coast Guards board the boat she was on 20 miles off the Indian coast in international waters. Those on board are taken to Dubai.

It was her second escape attempt, having been detained for three years following her first failure in 2002.

April 15, 2019 – Haya, who began an affair with her British bodyguard at some point in 2017 or 2018, flees Dubai with her two children in fear for her life.

She later discovers that Mohammed had divorced her under Sharia law on February 7, the 20th anniversary of the death of her father, King Hussein.

Meanwhile, she is paying £6.7million to four members of her security team who blackmailed her into the case.

May 14, 2019 – Mohammed is taking legal action in the High Court in London to seek the return of the children to Dubai.

March 2020 – After a series of hearings held in private, reporting restrictions are lifted to reveal that Senior Judge Andrew McFarlane has ruled he accepts as proven a series of allegations made by Haya.

These included that Mohammed was responsible for the abductions of Shamsa and Latifa, and that they remained deprived of their liberty. The judge also found that the sheikh had subjected his ex-wife to a campaign of intimidation that caused her to fear for her life.

July 2020 – Agents working for Mohammed exploit a vulnerability in Apple’s iPhone to use Pegasus software created by Israeli group NSO to hack into the phones of Haya, his British lawyers Fiona Shackleton and Nick Manners, his personal assistant and two members of his security team.

August 5, 2020 – Shackleton is told by another lawyer that his phones may have been hacked. That same day, Shackleton receives an urgent call from human rights lawyer Cherie Blair, an NSO adviser and wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, warning him that his phone may have been hacked.

May 5, 2021 – McFarlane says it was “more likely than not” the Sheikh was responsible for the hack.

June 2021 – A statement released by Latifa through lawyers says she is now free to travel, after photos of her overseas and in a Dubai mall were posted on social media . Two months later, a campaign group that had worked to secure his release from Dubai said it was ending its work.

Oct. 2021 – McFarlane judgment on hacking released. It is revealed that NSO had canceled their contract with the UAE as a result.

He also says those who worked for Mohammed also tried to buy a mansion next to and overlooking Haya’s estate near the British capital to intimidate him.

London police said they conducted a five-month investigation into the hack, but closed it in February due to a lack of “further investigative opportunities”.

Dec 21, 2021 – The High Court in London orders Mohammed to pay Haya £251.5million and provide a £290million bank guarantee to settle the custody battle for their children.

March 24, 2022 – McFarlane’s final welfare judgment is released. He says Haya should be solely responsible for the children’s medical care and schooling.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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