Man who took daughters to Libya loses appeal against fifth prison sentence

Man who took daughters to Libya loses appeal against fifth prison sentence

A man has lost an appeal against being sentenced to jail for the fifth time for taking his two daughters from their mother and leaving them with relatives in Libya eight years ago.

Mohammed El Zubaidy was sentenced to 12 months in prison by Sir Jonathan Cohen at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London in December.

El Zubaidy was found to have breached orders made during a High Court case with estranged wife Tanya Borg, who is in her 40s and from Pewsey, Wiltshire, and was in contempt of court, the judge concluded.

Three appeal judges on Wednesday dismissed an appeal against the sentence after a Court of Appeal hearing in London.

El Zubaidy, also in his 40s, had argued that the sentence imposed by Sir Jonathan was “manifestly excessive in all the circumstances”.

Lord Justice Bean, Lord Justice Moylan and Lord Justice Lewis disagreed, and said Sir Jonathan had not made any error.

They have outlined their decision in a written ruling.

Ms Borg has been fighting to bring Angel El Zubaidy, now 22, and her 11-year-old sister, Maya, back to Britain since El Zubaidy left them with his mother in Tripoli in early 2015, judges heard.

She had taken High Court action in London and her eldest daughter was classified as a “vulnerable adult” by judges.

Orders were aimed at reuniting Ms Borg with her daughters and Sir Jonathan described the case as “about as bad” as it was “possible to imagine”.

Four other judges had previously sentenced El Zubaidy to jail terms — of 12 months and two years — after also concluding he had breached orders aimed at getting his daughters back home to their mother.

Ms Borg had complained earlier this year that he was still in breach of orders and asked Sir Jonathan to impose a fifth jail sentence.

El Zubaidy had been given a 12-month prison term in 2017, separate sentences of two years and 12 months in 2018 and another 12-month stretch in 2021.

Ms Borg and El Zubaidy met two decades ago, judges have heard. She was born in Malta and he in Libya.

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