Lecita still waiting to see daughter

A FILIPINA mother who has not seen her daughter for more than two months yesterday slammed Bahrain’s police force for not doing enough to find her child. Lecita Flores has been fighting with her Bahraini ex-husband for the right to bring up five-year-old Sarah since April 2004.

A Sharia Court judge granted her custody of the child during a hearing at the Justice Ministry, Manama, in December.

But the 42-year-old has yet to see or talk with her daughter, despite a warrant being issued for the arrest of the Bahraini father for failing to produce the child before the authorities.

The First Sharia Appeal Court yesterday rejected her ex-husband’s appeal against the verdict, but she still does not know where her daughter is.

“I am happy to see that my ex-husband’s appeal was rejected by the court,” Ms Flores told the GDN yesterday.

“But the police are doing nothing to execute the order of the court and arrest the man.

“The police are unable to find my daughter and bring her to me and I have not seen her for two months.

“They (her ex-husband’s family) don’t even let my daughter speak to me on the telephone.

“I want the police to bring my daughter to me and execute the court order.”

Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) regional and international relations director Faisal Fulad condemned the time it was taking to find the child and her father.

“There is some failure in the practice of implementing the orders of the courts,” he said.

“We feel she is being unjustly treated. This is one case, but there are hundreds of other families in the same position.

“Bahrain is showing that its legal system in these type of cases is not working.”

Mr Fulad said the society would raise Ms Flores’ case with Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, Supreme Council for Women general-secretary Lulwa Al Awadi and the Interior Ministry.

He added the BHRWS also planned to highlight her case and many others at the upcoming International Women’s Day, on March 8.

Ms Flores earlier refused to share the custody of her child with her former sisters-in-law, who have been looking after her.

She had accused her former husband of holding her daughter “hostage” by going into hiding and refusing to hand her over.

Ms Flores first raised a case against her ex-husband in Kuwait, where the couple met and got married.

The Kuwait Sharia Court granted her full custody of her daughter after her ex-husband fled to Bahrain with the child – telling Ms Flores he had divorced her and was keeping Sarah.

When she followed him to Bahrain in November 2004, she was told she had to file a case here as the Kuwaiti ruling did not apply.

Ms Flores lived for nearly two years at the Philippine Embassy’s shelter, Zinj, until she was able to secure a job as a chocolate decorator and get a shared accommodation with an Indian family in Gudaibiya.

Her ex-husband then allowed her to see the child for two hours a week.

He earlier broke a court order in 2005 and fled with the child to Qatar, where he has relatives.

But the man was persuaded to return several months later after the intervention of BHRWS, which threatened him with a kidnapping charge.

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