Monday, February 22, 2010

Mom fights for custody of 4-year-old son severely abused by custodial father (Sidon, Lebanon)

It is not entirely clear to my how UNNAMED DAD took custody of his 4-year-old son--only to basically torture him. It sounds like the mother was only allowed by the Lebanese courts to have one year of custody after the divorce before the boy was to be "returned" to his father. Then Daddy apparently got tired of being a daddy after about a month, and called the mother to take the child--who was literally covered in blood when she saw him. Not surprisingly, the mother reports that this vicious creep abused her during their marriage as well.

This is basically domestic violence by proxy--an abuser targeting the children in order to injure and cause pain to the absent partner. And yet another case where Daddy didn't want to pay child support either.

Mother fights for custody of 4-year-old boy severely abused by his own father
By Mohammed Zaatari
Daily Star staff
Monday, February 22, 2010

SIDON: The cuts and bruises, obvious signs of physical abuse, can be seen all over his face. Although Maher is just 4 years old, he has already suffered severely traumatizing experiences caused by his own father.

“I don’t want my dad. I don’t want to get in the car. I don’t want to go to the toilet,” he cried when his grandfather asked him on Sunday to tell The Daily Star about his experience.

Maher, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, was playing in his grandfather’s garden in Sidon and only agreed to tell his story after he was reassured that no one would take him back to his father’s house.

“Dad beat me with a stick and locked me in the toilet with four dogs,” he started.

The child revealed the marks of abuse that cover his body: burns on his stomach, probably caused by cigarettes, and red welts on his back.

“When I tell him to stop hitting me he says I want to hit you more and when I tell him I’m hungry he makes me eat poop,” he said about his father.

Maher was initially put in the custody of his mother Fatima Atef Wehbe after his parents divorced but was returned to his father after a year. The court ruled that he would stay with his mother for a year and that his father would pay child support, a decision the man did not respect.

“I want to regain custody of my son … What his father did was not normal,” said Wehbe, who was preparing to file a lawsuit against her ex-husband.

Wehbe discovered the abuse when she was called by her husband last Sunday to take her child. “I saw him locked in the bathroom, covered with blood. I couldn’t tolerate the sight and I fainted,” she said, adding that she had herself been abused by her husband during their marriage.

Maher was seen by a legal medical examiner on February 15 and the report concluded that he had been repeatedly beaten over two weeks. The physician Afif Khafaja reported bruises on the child’s face, on his thighs and on his back, as well as burn marks on his stomach.

Maher’s grandfather said the child was with his mother for a year after the divorce but that his father took him back. The father soon returned the child to his mother, saying he would wait for him to become a man and decide for himself who to live with.

He then took the child from his mother about a month ago to spend the weekend with him but he didn’t give him back. Instead he sent Wehbe a text message, saying “it’s either you or me.” Last Sunday Wehbe received a phone call from her ex-husband telling her to take the child back.

“We will file a lawsuit against [the father] for beating his child and we have already filed two complaints against him: one asking that he be denied custody, the other demanding that he pay child support,” said Whebe’s lawyer Samih Haydar.