Father who took children to Libya jailed again in UK

Mohammed El Zubaidy removed his daughters from their mother in Britain and left them with family in Libya

Britain's High Court, London. AP

A man who took his children from their mother and left them with relatives in Libya has been given another jail term after a judge concluded that he was again in contempt of court.

Mr Justice Nigel Poole imposed a 12-month prison sentence on Mohammed El Zubaidy on Monday after finding he had breached orders made during the latest round of a High Court fight with his estranged wife, Tanya Borg.

The judge imposed the sentence at a hearing in the family division of the High Court, in London.

He heard evidence at a hearing in mid-November and adjourned sentencing.

El Zubaidy was at Monday's hearing and was led away in handcuffs by High Court officers.

Ms Borg, of Pewsey, Wiltshire, has been fighting to get Angel El Zubaidy, now 21, and her sister Maya, 10, back to Britain since he left them with his mother in Tripoli in 2015.

She took High Court action in London after her daughters' disappearance and judges have handed El Zubaidy, who lives in London, jail terms after concluding he had breached orders aimed at getting the daughters back to the UK.

He was given a 12-month term in 2017 and another in 2018.

Mr Poole has heard how Ms Borg and El Zubaidy are both in their 40s and met two decades ago. He heard that Ms Borg, who was born in Malta, travelled to Libya in 2019.

A Libyan judge ruled that she should have custody of her daughters.

But a barrister representing her told Mr Poole that she still could not remove her daughters from Libya without El Zubaidy's permission.

Clare Renton said he had to give that permission by signing a document at the Libyan embassy and a judge in London this year made orders requiring him to do that.

Ms Renton said he had not complied with orders and was in contempt. Mr Poole agreed.

"It is frankly cruel to leave them stranded in Libya," he said on Monday. "His conduct has been consistently and wilfully defiant over a number of years."

The judge said El Zubaidy had "arrogantly" placed his own judgment above the judgment of Ms Borg and successive High Court judges.

"He appears not to recognise the authority of the courts, in this jurisdiction or in Libya," Mr Poole said.

"He has blatantly defied the court. I find it difficult to understand why."

Updated: November 30th 2021, 8:09 AM