Court gave ‘disobedient’ Muslim convert custody, says lawyers’ group

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Source: The Malaysian Insider

The Federal Court has rewarded a Muslim convert with custody of his son even though he was in contempt of a Seremban High Court order, says a lawyers’ group.

Lawyers for Liberty legal and campaign coordinator Melissa Sasidaran said Izwan Abdullah snatched his son Mithran (Nabil) from his ex-wife two days after the court granted custody to S. Deepa in 2014.

“The Federal Court seems to be rewarding a wrongdoer who had blatantly disregarded the High Court order, thus giving the impression that a wrongdoer can abuse the legal process and benefit from it,” she said in a statement today.

Yesterday, a five-man bench chaired by Tan Sri Raus Sharif said a non-Muslim marriage did not dissolve when one party embraced Islam.

But the bench varied the High Court order and gave custody of Mithran to Izwan, and their daughter Sharmila to Deepa.

Melissa said the Federal Court should have also taken the inspector-general of police to task for failing to enforce the High Court order in recovering custody of Mithran who was forcibly taken away.

The judgment did not resolve the issue of unilateral conversion and custody obtained from the Shariah Court, she added.

“Deepa’s case is unfortunately one of the many instances where conversion to Islam by one spouse is being used in a very unfair manner in order to win custodial disputes.

“The unilateral conversion of children to any religion is clearly unconstitutional and adverse to the best interests of the children which should be the court’s paramount concern,” she added.

She urged the government to amend the relevant laws to resolve and provide a permanent and just solution to end the questions of family disputes due to conversion of one spouse to Islam.

Melissa said Lawyers for Liberty, however, welcomed the ruling that the civil court had exclusive jurisdiction to grant divorce, including custody, care and access of children where one spouse had unilaterally converted to Islam. – February 11, 2016.

 

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