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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Report: Custody battle over British boy becomes flashpoint between Qatar, UK


An ongoing custody battle between a British schoolboy’s mother and his late father’s Qatari family is starting to affect diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Guardian reports.

The case of Adam Jones, a 13-year-old boy whose Qatari relatives seized custody of him in 2009 when he visited the country with his British mother, has garnered a great deal of press in the last three years.

Now, it is also attracting the attention of the UK and Qatar’s highest-ranking officials, including the prime ministers of both nations and the Queen of England.

The Guardian reports:

(PM David) Cameron has written to his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, and the Arab state’s emir to demand that “Adam’s voice is heard” and that the case is “speedily resolved”.

In a recent letter to Adam, the prime minister pledges that he will personally keep urging the Qatari royal family to ensure that his wish to return to his mother will be granted.

The report continues:

The alleged abduction of Adam is a continuing focus of diplomacy between Britain and the Arab state, his case having being raised personally by the Queen during a meeting with Thani…

Yet Thani’s written response to Cameron states only that he will try “to find an amicable solution that preserves the rights of all parties involved”.

Adam’s mother and father divorced shortly after his birth, and he lived in Bahrain with his British mother, sister and stepfather until October of 2009.

That’s when Adam, then 10 years old, and his mother Rebecca Jones traveled to Qatar to meet the relatives of his father, who was killed in a motorbike accident in 2005.

There, Jones said she was tricked into signing papers that spawned a custody battle over her son with his Qatari grandmother.

A Qatari court upheld the grandmother’s claim, and despite his and his mother’s protests, Adam remains here today.

A document from the British embassy in Doha states that “the child was kidnapped by his uncle Mr Fahad Juma Abdullah al-Mudhaki, a Qatari police officer,” the Guardian reports.

According to a website launched to bring Adam home:

Adam has become depressed and withdrawn. He is made to wear a Qatari thobe that is too large for him and kept confined to the house. He is no longer a fun-loving young man and his captivity can only be considered tantamount to child abuse.

How far the British government will go to get Adam back remains to be seen. But the media attention will undoubtedly continue to grow.


Credit: Photo courtesy of Bring Adam Home Facebook page

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