New Jersey will release some county inmates until the coronavirus epidemic subsides

(Reuters) – New Jersey said Monday that it plans to temporarily release low-risk inmates serving prison terms in the county to limit the spread of coronavirus, following similar movements by some cities and counties in the United States.

The announcement was followed by an order on Sunday evening by the New Jersey chief of justice Stuart Rabner to suspend or commute the penalties imposed for violations of probation and municipal judicial convictions.

The order will release up to 1,000 inmates, said the New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union. Attorney General Gurbir Singh Grewal said at a press conference that they would be released by Tuesday morning.

As a career attorney, Grewal said he “did not enjoy” releasing prisoners, but that the decision was justified by the seriousness of the health risk. He also indicated the infections that had occurred in New York City prisons.

“We know and have seen across the river that prisons can be disease incubators, so we need to take bold and drastic steps,” said Grewal, adding that inmates would be under house orders and would complete their sentences once that the crisis was over.

Prisons and prisons are climbing to safeguard a prisoner population that includes many people with basic medical problems.

The United States has more people behind bars than any other nation, about 2.3 million as of 2017, including around 1.5 million in state and federal prisons and another 745,000 in local prisons, according to the Statistical Office of Justice of the United States.

Last week the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, announced the release of 40 detainees from Rikers Island prison in light of the pandemic, and said on Sunday that another 23 would be released.

Other cities and counties in the United States are considering or have adopted similar policies.

Last week, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the county had taken action since late February to reduce the prison population of 617 inmates. This was done by releasing prisoners with less than 30 days in prison and changing the bail policies used to determine which arrests would receive a subpoena in respect of their custody.

While many state prisons have taken steps to limit the spread of the virus, such as banning visitors, they typically require a court order to release the detainees. Federal prisons face similar restrictions, although President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he will consider an executive order to free “totally nonviolent prisoners” from these structures.

An official with the union representing federal prisoners called on Attorney General William Barr to temporarily stop the movement of all prisoners between the structures until the virus can be contained.

Nathan Layne’s report in Wilton, Connecticut; Further reports from Peter Eisler, Linda So and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Ned Park, Grant Smith and Brendan Pierson in New York; Curated by Grant McCool, Noeleen Walder and Cynthia Osterman

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First place Biden crushes Sanders in Florida, projected to win Illinois

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Joe Biden has achieved a sensational victory over Bernie Sanders in Florida’s Democratic presidential primaries and is expected to win Illinois on Tuesday, approaching his appointment to face President Donald Trump in the November election.

Voter Fred Hoffman completes his ballot paper during the primary election in Ottawa, Illinois, USA, March 17, 2020. The polling station was moved from a nearby nursing home to a former supermarket due to concerns about the outbreak of the disease. coronavirus (COVID-19). REUTERS / Daniel Acker

Biden took Sanders from 61% to 23% with 91% of the fences they report in Florida, the largest of the three states that voted on Tuesday, and beat Sanders in each county in the traditional political battlefield. Other candidates who have since abandoned have made up the rest.

Fox News projected that Biden also won in Illinois, where he opened a huge initial lead from 55% to 39% over Sanders, with 15% of the fences. Polls were to be closed in Arizona, the third state was voting on Tuesday at 22:00. EDT (0200 GMT on Wednesday).

Biden, the former vice president, hopes Tuesday’s big wins will help him accumulate an unassailable advantage over Sanders in the race to choose a Republican Trump challenger in the November 3 elections, before the game enters a prolonged pause without a scheduled vote. for weeks.

Biden’s easy victories seemed to be a sign that the Democrats were ready to meet for the general election against Trump and could increase pressure on Sanders, 78, to end his presidential bid.

Democrats worried about a possible repeat of 2016, when they believe that his long and bitter primary battle with Hillary Clinton played a role in his shocked loss to Trump, 73.

Florida, where Trump barely beat Clinton in the 1.2 percentage point general election in 2016, was the day’s top prize with 219 delegates. According to forecasts, Biden, 77, has won 58 delegates to 16 from Sanders in Florida so far, with over 100 still to be assigned.

Despite growing concerns about the coronavirus epidemic that closed large public rallies across the country, Edison Research estimated Florida’s turnout at 1.85 million – more than the 1.7 million who voted in 2016 and 1 , 75 million in 2008.

The majority of voters in all three states trusted Biden more than Sanders, a Senator from the United States of Vermont, to manage a serious crisis, Edison Research’s polls revealed in a sign that the deepening of the health crisis he helped to increase Biden’s appeal as a firm and expert hand.

They also found that seven out of 10 voters in all three states believed Biden had the best chance of beating Trump, a crucial factor in this year’s democratic race where eligibility was top priority for many voters.

Because of the coronavirus, Edison Research, who usually conducts exit polls, spoke to the first few voters and others who intended to vote by telephone.

Biden has taken the lead in the Democratic race over the past two weeks, scoring wins in 16 of the last 21 state races and building an advantage of some 150 delegates over Sanders in pursuit of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the Democratic convention nomination in July.

“A REAL DISASTER”

Polls also showed that about half of Illinois’ voters were “very concerned” about the potential effects of the epidemic, which on Tuesday caused Ohio to cancel its nomination race on Tuesday.

“Our goal is that no one will have to choose between their constitutional rights and their health risk,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said at a press conference on Tuesday, adding that moving forward with the vote would be “a real and really disaster. ”

Several states have postponed their primary democratic presidential elections, including Georgia, which was scheduled to vote on March 24; Louisiana, April 4th; Maryland, April 28; and Kentucky on May 19th.

Tom Perez, president of the Democratic National Committee, urged the remaining primary states not to postpone their votes but to focus on ways to make it more secure, such as voting in the mail and prolonging early voting time.

Officials from the three states that voted on Tuesday assured the public that he was safe despite fears of the coronavirus, which dramatically changed American life, forced campaigns to abandon public events and pushed other states to postpone future elections. primaries.

In observations streamed online before Tuesday’s vote, Sanders did not mention Tuesday’s primaries, but outlined a detailed $ 2 trillion plan to deal with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus.

Tracy Finger, 53, wore a mask while voting for Sanders in Miami on Tuesday. He said he expected the pandemic to offer a political boost to the prospective Democratic candidate, given the Trump administration’s response, which has sparked criticism over the lack of urgency.

Presentation (31 pictures)

Armed with hand sanitizer in his jacket pocket, Bill Monnin, a 60-year-old bartender who was recently fired due to lack of business because of the coronavirus, went on to vote in Chicago.

“It’s important, it’s our responsibility,” he said as he entered Kilmer Elementary School on the north side of Chicago. “It’s still not an impossible situation. You don’t have to stay home.”

(Graph: delegate plotter and results link: here)

Reporting of John Whitesides and Ginger Gibson in Washington; Additional reports by Makini Brice and Amanda Becker in Washington, Chris Kahn in New York; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Howard Goller

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Biden aims to exclude Sanders in democratic primaries amid fears of the coronavirus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Joe Biden will seek to tap his dominant lead in the Democratic presidential race on Tuesday when three states cast their vote, but Ohio has postponed its primary health concerns in anticipation of the coronavirus epidemic.

PHOTO FILE: Candidates for the Democratic Presidency of the United States, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, discuss during the eleventh debate on the democratic candidates of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, held in CNN’s Washington studies without an audience due of the global coronavirus pandemic, in Washington, USA, March 15, 2020. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Biden, the front-runner and former vice president, hopes that the big wins in the nomination of competitions in Florida, Illinois and Arizona will help him accumulate an almost unassailable advantage over rival Bernie Sanders in the race to find a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in November 3 elections.

Biden leads Sanders in opinion polls in all three states.

Ohio was also expected to hold primaries on Tuesday, but Governor Mike DeWine said public health concerns made the vote in person too dangerous and delayed until June 2. A county judge blocked his early efforts to postpone the vote, but the state health director ordered the closure of the polls as a health emergency.

“During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, conducting an election tomorrow would force election workers and voters to put themselves at an unacceptable risk of contracting the coronavirus,” said DeWine on Twitter.

Officials from the other three states promised to move forward with the vote and assured the public that he was safe despite fears of the coronavirus, which drastically altered American life, disrupted campaign routines and pushed other states to put it off future votes.

On Monday, the White House released guidelines to avoid meetings of over 10 people and to close bars and restaurants. Schools, businesses, sporting events and concerts have been closed across the country, raising questions about the wisdom of voting during a global pandemic.

But in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, officials said they were taking precautions such as extending the first few hours of voting and moving polling stations away from assisted living facilities – though some were quick to find more. survey workers to replace those who had retired.

There have been over 4,300 respiratory virus cases in the United States and 80 deaths since Monday evening.

In Florida, the largest state to vote, with 219 delegates at stake, over 1 million people had already cast the Democratic vote by mail or in person. In Illinois, nearly 800,000 votes were cast in the mail or through early voting, a substantial increase over the day before the 2016 primary.

“We believe that following the directions of our state and federal health professionals, voters can vote safely at early polling sites today and at polling stations tomorrow,” said Matt Dietrich, spokesman for the Illinois Electoral Council.

“Furthermore, at this point there is no date in the near future in which we can expect greater security with certainty,” he added.

The presidential race will enter uncertain territory after Tuesday’s vote. Both Biden and Sanders abandoned the election campaign to help prevent the spread of the virus and the race could face a prolonged pause if multiple states postponed the vote.

CHARGED OFFER

Biden has taken command of the contest over the past two weeks, consolidating democratic support with a string of decisive primary wins over Sanders, a United States Senator from Vermont and a Democrat Socialist with a broad agenda to restructure the economy.

Biden’s victories in 16 of the last 21 state primaries gave him an advantage of about 150 delegates over Sanders in pursuit of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination for the July Democratic convention.

There are 441 delegates at stake in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, and a sweep would make it increasingly unrealistic that Sanders could recover.

Sanders has promised to stay in the race despite Biden’s recent streak. He attacked the Biden Senate voting record and leadership on a number of issues during their first one-on-one debate on Sunday, held in Washington without an on-site audience to avoid the possible spread of the virus.

But Sanders may face renewed pressure to end his offer if he loses badly on Tuesday. Many Democrats do not want to repeat 2016, when they believe that Sanders’ long and bitter primary battle with Hillary Clinton played a role in his shocked defeat for Trump.

The next primary scheduled in Georgia on March 24 has been postponed, along with the April 4 primary in Louisiana, one of four states scheduled to vote on that day and Kentucky on May 19. Wyoming, which is expected to vote on April 4, has suspended voting in person in favor of voting and voting by post.

The main program closes in April, with Wisconsin on April 7 and nothing else until six states have voted on April 28.

Reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Peter Cooney

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United States Supreme Court to postpone oral arguments amid coronavirus concerns

PHOTO FILE: The United States Supreme Court building was seen in Washington, United States, January 21, 2020. REUTERS / Will Dunham / File Photo

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court will postpone the next round of oral discussions slated for later this month, including a high-profile dispute over President Donald Trump’s fiscal and financial records, in an attempt to combat the spread of coronavirus. , spokesman said Monday.

The announcement to delay the arguments, which was scheduled to begin on March 23, marked an increase in the court’s response to the pandemic after closing its building to the public last Thursday. The referral affects 11 arguments covering 14 cases, including Trump’s appeals in three separate cases to prevent his financial documents, including tax returns, from being handed over to the Democratic-led United States House of Representatives committees and a New York prosecutor.

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in a statement that the court was taking measures “by respecting the recommended public health precautions in response to COVID-19,” the disease caused by the virus. Arberg said the court “will examine options for rescheduling such cases in due course of light in developing circumstances.”

The move comes when states and cities nationwide impose stricter measures such as the closure of schools and businesses to slow the transmission of the virus. On Sunday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for the cancellation or postponement of meetings of 50 or more people in the next eight weeks.

Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Will Dunham

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BRIEF-Wuzhou International claims to have received a notice of call in connection with the loan agreements with Zhou Hua Feng

March 13 (Reuters) – Wuzhou International Holdings Ltd:

* RECEIVED WRITING OF SUMMER, DECLARATION OF CLAIMS IN CONNECTION WITH 4 LOAN AGREEMENTS WITH ZHOU HUA FENG Source text for Eikon: Additional corporate coverage: (Reuters.Briefs@thomsonreuters.com)

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Bernard Madoff wants to make “a dying, personal appeal” for freedom

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A dying Bernard Madoff wants to tell the U.S. judge that he will decide whether to release him from the prison that has accepted responsibility for his massive Ponzi plan and is genuinely sorry for his crimes and their impact on the victims.

FILE PHOTO: Bernard Madoff leaves the Manhattan federal court house in New York in this photo from the file dated January 14, 2009. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

In court documents filed late Wednesday and early Thursday, Madoff’s attorney Brandon Sample asked circuit judge Denny Chin to schedule an audition in Manhattan where 81-year-old Madoff could speak on the phone from his prison of Butner, North Carolina, where he served nearly 11 years of his 150-year tenure.

A hearing “will likely be the last proceeding in this case before Mr. Madoff’s death,” expected within 18 months, Sample said. “Allowing Mr. Madoff to give what is, in fact, a final reason for death, is absolutely reasonable.”

Sample also sent a letter from a person who agreed to host Madoff, but asked not to make it public because “it could lead to harassment or other invasions of the letter writer’s privacy given the extremely public nature of this case.”

The U.S. prosecutor’s office in Manhattan opposes Madoff’s release. In a letter to the judge on Thursday, he did not take a position on the hearing request, but said that any claim by Madoff to accept responsibility would be “selfish”.

Prosecutors have claimed that Madoff has used his Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC company to deceive thousands of people, charities, pension funds and hedge funds, including many with ties to the Jewish community, for several decades.

A court-appointed trustee estimated that Madoff’s clients lost $ 17.5 billion, of which nearly $ 14 billion was recovered.

Prosecutors estimated the fraud at $ 64.8 billion, based on the amounts Madoff told clients he had in their accounts shortly before his arrest in December 2008.

Chin called Madoff’s crimes “extraordinarily evil” in imposing the 150-year sentence in June 2009.

Madoff is seeking a “compassionate release” under the First Step Act, a 2018 bipartisan law that provides for the early release of some older prisoners, often for health reasons.

The champion said Madoff is dying from kidney failure, and is also confined to a wheelchair and struggling with many other diseases.

Prosecutors said that the extent of Madoff’s crimes, his refusal to accept responsibility and his practice of “deflecting blame” towards victims in prison interviews justify keeping him hidden.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Nick Macfie and Lisa Shumaker

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Passengers depart from the cruise ship affected by coronavirus in California face masks

(Reuters) – Hundreds of travelers who boarded a Hawaii cruise ship last month in sandals and sunglasses walked on a coronavirus-affected ship with facial masks in the port of Oakland, California on Tuesday, headed to quarantine sites across the country.

The tightly controlled landing began on Monday, hours after the Grand Princess cruise ship arrived at a specially insured terminal across San Francisco Bay from its home port, cheering on tired passengers who had spent days at sea confined in the their cabins.

As of Tuesday evening, according to the cruise line, over 1,400 passengers had left the ship. They were seen walking down a catwalk wearing surgical masks, escorted on buses hired by staff dressed in full protective clothing.

Addressing a press conference in Sacramento, the state capital, on Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom said he hoped to finish landing all 2,400 passengers from the ship within 72 hours.

Initially plans included 1,100 crew members, with the exception of those in need of immediate medical attention, to remain aboard the Grand Princess when she left port for a two-week quarantine period at sea.

But Newsom told reporters that some crew members, many from the Philippines, could instead return to their home countries.

Among the first people on board the ship were 26 U.S. residents taken by ambulance to hospitals in the region, including two passengers who were diagnosed with coronavirus during tests on board last week who also found 19 members infected of the crew, Newsom said.

Princess Cruises, the ship’s owner-operator, said crew members were considered asymptomatic and confined to their individual cabins.

Passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship board a plane at Oakland International Airport as authorities continue disembarking from the ship after 21 people on board have tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19 in Oakland, California, in the United States on March 10, 2020. REUTERS / Stephen Lam

BASIC QUANTINE

All remaining U.S. passengers will be tested once they have reached quarantine quarters at one of four military bases, two in California and one in Texas and Georgia.

A group of 232 Canadians, the largest cohort of non-US passengers, were repatriated Monday, Newsom said.

The Grand Princess was denied entry to San Francisco Bay last Wednesday on the return trip from Hawaii when authorities learned that some passengers and crew had developed flu-like symptoms and that customers on a previous cruise in Mexico on board the same ship they had proved positive for coronavirus. Since then, at least 12 cases have been linked to the previous trip to Mexico.

The diagnostic kits were transported by helicopter on the ocean liner Thursday to test the sick. Friday’s 21 positive test results formed one of the largest documented case groups in the United States.

But the authorities took until Sunday to decide on a return to port strategy and a quarantine plan for the ship.

Princess Cruises also owns the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined from Japan in February. About 700 people aboard that ship became infected and six died in a crisis that experts say has been poorly managed by Japanese bureaucrats.

The news, echoing the advice of public health experts, said that the elderly and individuals with chronic health problems – two groups most vulnerable to serious disease if infected with coronavirus – should stay out of cruise ships.

Presentation (13 images)

Princess, a leading Carnival Corp cruise ship unit (CCL.N), said Monday that passengers on the unfortunate trip to Hawaii will receive a refund for all travel costs and a credit for a future cruise.

At least one couple aboard the Grand Princess sued the company even before reaching the mainland, demanding damages of over $ 1 million for the emotional trauma they claimed to have suffered during the ordeal.

Reporting by Steve Gorman; Curated by Bill Tarrant, Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast.

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Coronavirus detected in Apple’s European headquarters in Ireland

FILE PHOTO: An Apple logo is displayed in the window of an authorized apple retailer in Galway, Ireland, 30 August 2016. REUTERS / Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) – A worker at Apple Inc.’s European headquarters in Ireland has tested positive for coronavirus.

The company said it is coordinating closely with local health authorities and believes the risk to others is low.

In a statement, the tech giant said the employee is now self-isolated.

“As a precaution, we asked some members of our team to stay home while we work with the health and safety manager to assess the situation.”

“We are continuing to clean all our offices and shops regularly and we will take all necessary precautions in accordance with the indications of the health authorities.”

Apple is one of Ireland’s largest multinational employers with 6,000 workers. Ireland has so far reported 24 cases after three others have been identified on Monday.

Reporting by Graham Fahy, edited by Louise Heavens

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The U.S. judge says Amazon will likely succeed in the challenge of the Defense cloud contract

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. judge has declared Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) will likely challenge the U.S. Department of Defense decision to award a cloud computing deal of up to $ 10 billion to Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O)

The Amazon logo is visible at the corporate logistics center in Boves, France, November 5, 2019. REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol / Files

US Federal Court Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith’s opinion was overturned on Friday. On February 13, he issued an order to freeze work on the contract pending resolution of Amazon’s court case.

Amazon claims that the contract was awarded to its rival due to the undue influence of President Donald Trump.

The opinion did not mention Trump or address Amazon’s claims of improper influence, but instead focused on how the Pentagon assessed Microsoft’s data storage in a pricing scenario.

Campbell-Smith wrote that Amazon “is likely to succeed based on its argument that the DOD incorrectly assessed” a Microsoft pricing scenario. He added that Amazon will likely show that Microsoft’s scenario was not “technically feasible”, as assessed by the Pentagon.

Microsoft did not immediately comment on Saturday, but told the Washington Post that the opinion cited a “solitary technical discovery” and noted that it found no other government error in the “complex and complete process that led to the award of the contract with Microsoft. ”

Amazon did not immediately comment on Saturday.

Campbell-Smith said that “in the context of a contract for cloud computing services, the court finds it quite probable that this failure will be substantial.”

Amazon, who had been seen as a front-runner to win the contract, filed a lawsuit in November, a few weeks after the contract was awarded to Microsoft. Trump publicly mocked Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and repeatedly criticized the company.

The Amazon lawsuit claimed that the Department of Defense decision was full of “glaring errors”, which were the result of “improper pressure from President Donald Trump”.

Bezos also owns the Washington Post, whose coverage has been critical of Trump and which has often been the target of trumpeting by the media.

The Pentagon, which had planned to begin work on the contract on February 13, said it was disappointed with the ruling.

As part of the case, Amazon asked the court to stop the execution of the contract, popularly known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud or JEDI. The contract aims to offer the military better access to data and technology from remote locations.

Last month, Amazon’s cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services, said it was trying to sue Trump in its lawsuit and suggested that the president was trying to “ruin Amazon” on the contract.

Reporting by David Shepardson to Washington; Editing by Ben Klayman and Matthew Lewis

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Princess Haya: I feared that the ruler of Dubai would kidnap my children

LONDON (Reuters) – Jordanian princess Haya bint al-Hussein told the High Court in London that she feared that her ex-husband, the ruler of Dubai, would kidnap her two children, bring them back to the Arab Gulf state and would prevent her from ever seeing them again.

PHOTO PHOTO: Princess Haya, Al Hussein, wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, and his Baroness lawyer Fiona Shackleton arrive at the High Court in London, Great Britain, on February 28, 2020. REUTERS / Tom Nicholson

Haya, 45, half-sister of King Abdullah of Jordan, arrived in Britain with her two children in April last year and was involved in a London court case for their future with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum of Dubai.

The hearings were held privately, but restrictions were lifted on Thursday that allowed the media to report that British judge Andrew McFarlane had determined that Mohammed had orchestrated an intimidation campaign against Haya.

The judge also claimed that Haya’s allegations that the sheikh had ordered the kidnapping and subsequent torture of two of his daughters by another marriage – Shamsa and Latifa – have been proven.

Sheikh’s attorneys rejected the allegations made by Haya’s legal team and later supported by McFarlane in his “de facto conclusions”.

They claimed that Haya wanted to distract himself from his relationship with one of his bodyguards, which according to McFarlane had taken place in 2017 or 2018.

Last November, Haya appeared on the quay of the large Court 33 with wooden panels of the High Court in London to tell how much she feared that her children – Jalila, 12 and Zayed, 8 – could suffer the same fate as their half-sisters.

Shamsa, at the age of 18, was kidnapped from the streets of Cambridge in England in 2000, while her younger sister Latifa was kidnapped from a boat in international waters off India in 2018, she ruled McFarlane.

“I really can’t get the idea that it could be the last time I see them if they go to see it and that’s not sure,” he told the High Court during his brief appearance which lasted about 10 minutes.

“It’s not just him that worries me. It’s the people around him, the people I know. I know how they work. I saw what happened to their sisters and I can’t deal with the fact that the same could happen to them.”

During the hearings, which lasted for nine months since last May, she has been in court, sometimes with tears, others with disdain at the arguments put forward by her ex-husband’s legal team.

Giving her evidence, she spoke clearly as she said she had come to doubt the UAE’s official report on Latifa.

McFarlane accepted that Latifa had been kidnapped by a U.S.-flagged ship off the coast of India in March 2018 and taken back to Dubai, the second time she had tried unsuccessfully to escape the emirate.

In a video he made prior to his 2018 escape attempt, he described his father as “pure evil” and said that if people were watching him, he was in a “very bad situation”.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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