Dubai: An Omani businessman living in Saudi Arabia is seeking the return of his two children taken to Dubai by his wife without his permission.
But the mother says she fled to Dubai, via Turkmenistan, because she no longer wanted her children around their father nor growing up in Saudi Arabia.
She said that Dubai is “a free country” that respects women.
In an interview over the phone from Saudi Arabia with Gulf News, Mohammad Sulaiman Al Busaidi, 53, said his family failed to appear last Friday at the Dammam International Airport as he waited for seven hours to see his children – instead his wife and Turkemenistan national, 42, who did not want to be named, booked a flight to Dubai where she and the children joined her brother and family.
Al Busaidi said he immediately enlisted the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Affairs to contact Dubai authorities to seek the return of his children to his primary residence in Dammam.
“I want my wife and children to come back to Saudi Arabia. I don’t know where they are,” Al Busaidi said, noting that he had not heard from his wife since she flew out of Turkmenistan. “She suddenly disappeared with my children.”
The couple have two children, a daughter, 13, and a five-year-old son. Al Busaidi said he is worried for their safety.
He is contending to authorities that the act of taking his children to another country is illegal.
Al Busaidi alleged that his wife had liberated from his house family photos, personal effects as well as two million Saudi Riyals (Dh9.794 million) in cash and four million riyals in jewellery before she fled.
When reached by telephone by Gulf News, the children’s mother said the allegations are false.
She countered that the two million in cash was, in fact, a cheque written out to her and endorsed by her husband. She has yet to cash the cheque at a bank. As for the jewellery, the woman said, she has every single receipt for the items — gifts to her and her daughter from her husband — and they (the receipts) show full ownership.
One of the pieces of jewellery is a diamond necklace costing Dh200,000 at the time of purchase.
The woman said she has done nothing wrong and is not planning to return to Saudi Arabia and wants to remain with her family in Dubai to look after their car-selling business.
She said she opened a visa for herself and her children to stay in Dubai.
Since marrying in 1999, the woman said the marriage was difficult as she lived in isolation at two large homes in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain where she socialised with no one. She alleges she was jailed in Bahrain when her husband accused her of stealing money from the house.
“My husband is a big liar. He put me in jail two times. First time, he said I stole money from the house. I was in jail for 15 days,” she said, adding charges were dropped and she was released.
Asked if living in the social isolation of compounds in elite neighbourhoods was like being in a prison, the woman quipped: “No, prison was better, at least I could talk to other people, they were criminals but at least I could speak to someone.”
She said that she had previously appealed to Dubai courts to divorce her husband based upon her allegations that Al Busaidi had sworn talak three times. The divorce was never granted, she said, because she had no witnesses.
Al Busaidi, meanwhile, dismissed accusations that he was an abusive father or husband and said he provided for his wife’s family generously through financial gifts, cars and loans. He said he is known in his home country for financially helping orphans and the poor.
The woman’s brother told Gulf News in Dubai that there is no need to worry for the children’s safety.
“This is a family matter,” he said. “The kids are fine, we don’t have any problem. They are staying at my house.”