Thursday, March 25, 2010

Despite court order, mother still unable to reunite with daughter (Bahrain)

Initially, UNNAMED DAD fled with the child to Bahrain, and then divorced the mother by text message. Now Dad is in jail on drug dealing charges, and Mom still can't get Dad's family to return the child to her despite being granted custody two years ago. It appears that the police--and the Bahrain government in general--are doing nothing to help this mother. We've posted on this case before. Go to the Bahrain tab for additional information.

By the way, the dad has been identified elsewhere as MOHAMMED AL MUTAWA.

Mum is left heartbroken
By Begena p Pradeep, Posted on » Thursday, March 25, 2010

A BAHRAINI family again ignored a court order instructing it to hand a seven-year-old girl over to her mother yesterday - two years after it ignored the first order.

Lecita Flores waited six hours for the family of her ex-husband - a convicted drug dealer currently behind bars - to bring her daughter Sarah to a police station, but still went home alone and heartbroken.

Her lawyer Mohammed Al Mutawa accused police of not doing their job, saying he was becoming increasingly frustrated at the "absurd" lack of action from the Interior Ministry.

The GDN reported yesterday that a court had once again ruled Ms Flores should be reunited with Sarah after a draining six-year custody battle.

However, the family repeatedly delayed the handover of the child yesterday and even stopped answering phone calls from police.

Ms Flores had been accompanied to the Naim Police Station by Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society workers rights and monitoring director Ateyatala Rowhani and a Philippine Embassy official.

"I was at the station since 9am with the court order and since then the police were in contact (by phone) with Sarah's three aunts and an uncle," a devastated Ms Flores told the GDN.

"They said they were going to collect Sarah from her school and come straight to the station.

"Until Mr Rowhani and the Embassy official came at 11am, Sarah had not reached and police called again.

"They again said they were on their way with Sarah and we kept waiting. Then at 1pm all their phones were switched off. So I and Mr Rowhani went to Sarah's father's house in Mahooz followed by the police.

"We waited outside the house for the police to arrive, but we got a call from the station saying they were able to get Sarah's relatives on the phone again and that they had said they were on their way to the station.

"So we went back to the station and waited, but they never came and their phones were switched off again."

Ms Flores has been instructed to go back to the police station again today.

"The police asked us to come back and said they would try them (the relatives) again.

"I just don't know what else to do. I am trying to get my child the proper way through the judiciary and police, but it seems no-one cares.

"But I cannot give up, can I? I will try until my last to get my child back from these people, who do not even care for the law."

A frustrated Mr Al Mutawa said he could not understand why police were dragging their heels over the case, especially since the court order grants them power to take the child by force if necessary.


"The court order says the police may use force if needed if the other party does not co-operate and I don't know why the police did not even try.

"All of us have waited for so long for the ex-husband's family to hand over the child, but they don't.

"That is why we got the special court order, but why are the police not honouring it? This is just not fair and very bad if you ask me.

"When the relatives, who said they were on their way, did not reach the police station after two hours and later switched off their phones, it was clear they were trying to break the law.

"But the police, who are authorised to take action, are not doing it. What should we understand from this?

"If a man kills another man would the police phone the murderer asking him to present himself at the station, but stop chasing the case if the murderer switches off his phone?

"All this is too absurd."

However, police sources confirmed last night that they would resort to using force to get Sarah for Ms Flores if the ex-husband's family refused to co-operate.

They said they chose to give the family a chance to hand over the child in an amicable way.

"Now since the police have a court order which says if the family refuses to hand over the child even after asking them to do so, we should forcefully get her," they said.

"We also have the authority to arrest anyone who tries to hinder us in performing our duty.

The latest court order also includes instructions for Sarah to undergo counselling if necessary, since she barely knows her own mother anymore.

Ms Flores met Sarah briefly in court in January for the first time in six months, when the child was asked to choose who she preferred to live with.

Sarah told the judge that she did not love her mother anymore and was afraid of her, but Ms Flores claimed she had been brainwashed by the father's family.

Ms Flores was first granted custody of Sarah by a Sharia Court in March 2008 and again by the Execution Court last July. Ms Flores, who has also been awarded custody of Sarah by a Kuwaiti court, began her custody battle in 2004 after her husband fled to Bahrain with their child and divorced her by text message.