x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

British mother given one-month suspended sentence for kidnapping son in Dubai

The case has attracted a lot of interest in the British press after the mother claimed she was being unfairly treated by the Dubai legal system.

DUBAI // A British mother who kidnapped her four-year-old son after a Sharia court had given custody to the father was given a one-month suspended jail sentence on Thursday.

The Misdemeanours Court heard that on March 9, 2012, the mother, A L, 46, took the boy, L L, and went into hiding for more than a year.

She had denied the charges, saying that she absconded with the child only because her former husband, B L, 38, threatened to kill her.

The father, a French aviation engineer, said that the couple had divorced in 2011,

He submitted a letter to the prosecution showing that on August 12, 2012, Dubai Sharia Courts had given him full custody of the child.

He claimed A L was a negligent mother, who would forget L L’s vaccinations, prevent the father from providing medical care for the boy’s eczema, constantly stayed up late partying with friends and repeatedly left the boy with strangers while she went on travels.

The day the mother kidnapped the boy, the father had called police after she failed to show up with L L at Safa Park. 

“I texted her several times but she did not answer, then I tried calling her but her mobile was switched off,” B L told police.

He said he told police that his ex-wife lived at the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children before she disappeared. He said that on October 29 last year, after more than a year of searching for his son, he was tipped off about his ex-wife’s whereabouts. 

He went to Jumeirah Beach Residences and saw his son playing in a private park for two of the residential buildings. 

“I took him, so the nanny told me she would call her madam and I told her I was the boy’s father,” B L said.  

In court, the mother said: “I did not kidnap my son. But after one of our court hearings, my ex-husband threatened to kill me if I didn’t give him the boy so I got scared and stayed away from him.”

In a previous hearing on Tuesday, the husband accused his ex-wife, who continued to use his surname after the divorce, of making defamatory comments about the Dubai legal system to the British press.

The court informed him that what he said was irrelevant to the kidnap case. 

Also at this hearing, two witnesses were denied the chance to speak on her behalf after being told they did not have the required form of ID. They were due to give evidence to support her claims that she had been the victim of domestic violence, which her former husband had always denied.

The verdict did not include deportation for the mother.