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Women protest outside Bkerki in support of a woman on hunger strike

15-2-2019

A number of women staged a sit-in yesterday in front of the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate in Bkerki in solidarity with Dolly Khabbaz who has been on hunger strike since February 12 protesting a religious court ruling depriving her of the custody of her children. To recall, the court ruling issued on January 15, gave the father the full custody of his two underage children, establishing the ‘invalidity of marriage’ (divorce as recognized by Christian communities). The alleged reason is ‘psychological’, in reference to the mother’s mental status, who, allegedly cannot commit to the basic duties of marriage, according to Law 818, Paragraph 3. On the text of the decision, Khabbaz attributed the reasons of ‘psychological nature’ to a female psychiatrist’s report that she has never seen or met in her life, stating that her attorney will appeal before the judge who released the verdict during 15 days. Khabbaz said she preferred to appeal in front of Bkerki itself, and refused to eat unless her boys were with her. She wanted to draw attention of the Patriarch to intervene directly on her behalf, as the issuance of a court ruling drags. According to Al Akhbar newspaper, Khabbaz who, until yesterday, was not able to meet Rai, addressed an open letter asking the Patriarch to repeal the decision himself. Meanwhile, Curial Bishop Hanna Alwan announced that Khabbaz ended her strike yesterday, noting that the only way to protest is to appeal the preliminary verdict, as Patriarch Rai by virtue of the law cannot abolish the rule. (Al Akhbar, Al Diyar, February 15, 2019)
 

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