Mother's fight for child's custody moves to Dubai

Her lawyer says she has been awarded custody in two other countries, facts the Dubai courts are ignoring.

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DUBAI // A British-Syrian woman's international custody fight for her two children involving two continents, three courts and an Interpol notice has landed in the Dubai Court of Appeal.

The two boys, SB, 10, and RB, five, were awarded to their mother, YA, in December 2008, just five days after their father, BA, had taken them to Syria.

YA travelled to Syria to continue seeking custody, and a Syrian court ruled in her favour. But in 2009, their father took them to his home country of Jordan, where a court awarded him full custody with limited visiting rights for YA. Later that year, he moved with the boys to Dubai after finding a new job.

YA alleges that the repeated moves amount to kidnapping, and a notice from the UK Interpol office seeks assistance from international law enforcement agencies in finding the children and implementing the British court order.

According to her lawyer, Obaid al Falasi, a request to grant custody rights in Dubai was filed but dismissed by the Dubai Personal Status Court in 2010. The court also denied her any visiting rights.

The court gave credence to the Jordanian court decision and dismissed that of the Syrian Sharia court. The British ruling was not considered, according to records.

Yesterday, Mr al Falasi told the Dubai courts of appeal lower court's ruling was invalid because it ignored some of the rulings and other facts in the case.

"The geographic location, the employment of the custody bearer and the age of the children all present variables that are always considered in Sharia," he said. "The mother's case was not heard and was automatically dismissed by the lower court."

The judge adjourned the case to later this month to review the documents Mr al Falasi presented and hear a response from BA's lawyers.