By Patrick Sawer
A mother has been left desperate for news of her daughters after their father took them to Libya and refused to bring them back.
The man has now been jailed for a year after failing to return the girls, aged five and 17, to their mother’s home in Wiltshire.
Tanya Borg, whose husband has been jailed after failing to return her daughters from Libya
Tanya Borg has not been able to speak to her children since March this year and has no idea where they are being kept in the conflict-ridden country and how well they are.
Her ordeal began in February 2015, after she agreed with her estranged husband Mohammed Said Masoud El Zubaidy that he could take the two girls to visit their grandmother in Tunisia.
But instead he whisked them across the border to Libya and has since refused to arrange for their return to the UK.
Adding to Ms Borg’s agony is the fact El-Zubaidy has told his family not to let her speak to the children, something the judge in the case has described as “a wicked thing to do”.
Ms Borg, a British national who was born in Malta, met El-Zubaidy on the Mediterranean island and married him in 2000.
The couple settled in Britain two years later.
Libyan-born El Zubaidy, of Wood Green, north London, took the children to visit their grandmother in the Tunisia, after Ms Borg had agreed to the visit.
But according to court documents “the father took the children into Libya”. The documents added that Ms Borg said he “refused to return them despite the maternal grandmother even sending flight tickets”.
Earlier this year El Zubaidy, who is a British national, returned to the UK without the girls, claiming he could not contact them because they were living at an unknown address with members of his family.
Ms Borg, 38, a part time youth worker and actress who lives in the village of Pewsey, near Marlborough, went to court to commit her husband to prison in a bid to force him to return her daughters.
Last week Mr Justice Moor, sitting in the High Court, ruled in her favour and sentenced EL Zubaidy to 12 months imprisonment for contempt of court after he failed to comply with a previous judge’s orders to return the girls.
He said there had been a “deliberate concealment of the girls since March” and added: “He has done absolutely nothing to procure or promote their return. Indeed, I am sure he has done the opposite.
“The father has deliberately ensured the children have had no contact with their mother. Indeed, I find that he has instructed the grandmother either to disappear or to become uncontactable.”
Justice Moor went on: “It follows that, far from ‘procuring and promoting that the children leave Libya forthwith’, he has done the opposite. The allegation that he has breached the order of Holman J is therefore proved to the criminal standard of proof.”
The whereabouts of the two girls are still unknown.
Justice Moor said if El Zubaidy helped find the daughters he would be released earlier from prison.
Ms Borg said she did not want to speak about her missing daughters while the matter was being dealt with by the courts.
“I can’t say anything. Not right now, it’s not the right time,” she said.
Patrick Sawer, Senior Reporter on The Telegraph. He previously worked as a reporter and assistant news editor on the London Evening Standard.