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Rita Shibley yet another victim of confessional personal status law

19-5-2017

Another victim is added to a long list of women impaired by Lebanon’s personal status law that discriminate against women. Rita Shibley was jailed for three days for refusing to comply with a ruling by Shmistar Jaafari Court ordering her to handover of her two children, Youssef and Maria, to their grandfather from the deceased father’s side. The Court however revoked its decision on custody of the children and released Rita after informing her of a case of forgery on part of the father’s family in respect of the ‘religion of their son’. In the details, Al Akhbar newspaper narrated the story of the couple which began with the marriage of Rita and Wassim. The husband has converted to Catholicism and was baptized as George after signing a pledge to return to the Catholic Court in all matters related to said marriage, Al Akhbar wrote. After Wassim died, Rita started to face problems with her in-laws who sought by all means to win custody of the grandchildren, with resort to force in some instances. When the family failed, the newspaper went on to say, it reverted the conversion of deceased George to his original Shiite faith, and to Wassim Abdel Hassan Chehadeh as he was called before being baptized. The transfer was made seven days after Wassim’s death, which constituted a problem. Rita today awaits a decision by the Catholic Religious Court that will give her custody of her two children. In its comment on the subject, Kafa - Enough Violence and Exploitation organization said in a statement yesterday that Rita has been subject to injustice, discrimination, fraud and stalking. It stressed the rights of women and mothers in particular to custody and guardianship of their children, questionning the government about its responsibilities towards its women citizens! “Aren’t women’s heartbreaks reasons enough for the decision-makers to act put the personal status laws at the highest position in their priorities?”  (An Nahar, Al Akhbar, May 19, 2017)
 
Previous related news: 
Fatmeh Hamzeh victim of Lebanon’s confessional constitution and laws
 

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