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Jaafari Court manipulates custody law, favors father under false pretext

16-12-2020

In its issue of today, Al Akhbar newspaper wrote about the discriminatory sharia rulings issued by the various Lebanese sects against mothers and their children. It brought to light the decision by the head of the Beirut Jaafari Court, Judge Bashir Mortada, last August, in which he ordered handing over of a twin (boy and girl) under 7, to their father and sanctioning their travel outside the country while depriving their mother of the right to custody or visitation. Al Akhbar cited the mother as saying that her ex-husband, a diplomat in an African country, has divorced her in absentia last August during the court holidays, when scores of visitation cases and cases of alimony and marriage dissolution were put on hold. Despite this, he obtained a judgment from Judge Mortada granting him the right of custody of his two children and permitted him to travel with them to his place of residence abroad. Al Akhbar wrote that the decision uncovers the extent of favoritism towards the father, based on several paragraphs in the court sentence, notably, the judge’s overlooking the unfavorable influence of the nature of the father’s job which limits his practice of custody to his children due to his frequent travels, and the deprivation of the mother of her legitimate right of visiting or seeing her own children. The father’s social and prestigious ranking will have positive impact on the upbringing of the kids, the judge argued. The newspaper also pointed to Judge Mortada’s disregard of the mother’s attorney report which noted that the girl has not completed her 7th year (the legal custody age for a girl), as she will be seven in January next year. Instead, he proposed calculating the girl’s age according to the Hijri rather than the Gregorian calendar to ensure the father wins the custody! Noting, Al Akhbar went on to say, that under Jaafari sharia, the custody of a girl goes to the father at the age of 7 (Gregorian calendar) and of the boy at the age of 2 (Gregorian). On the other hand, the National Gender Observatory in Lebanon, in collaboration with EuroMed Feminist Initiative and the Lebanese Democratic Women’s Gathering, will hold a panel discussion on early marriage in Lebanon on December 22, (10:30 am to 1:30 pm) at Radisson Blu Verdun Hotel. (Al Akhbar, December 16, 2020)

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