Juvenile Court orders gender ministry to assume custody of a minor

The Juvenile Court has released an unprecedented order for the Ministry of Law and Gender to assume custody of a minor whose parents were seen to be unfit to take guardianship of him.

The 15-year-old was tried at the court on charges of drug abuse. The court stated that the minor’s detention has been extended by the court several times with regard to charges of drug abuse and possession. However, in accordance with a decision from the Prosecutor General’s Office, the court has dropped charges against him.

The court then sought his parents so as to release him to their custody. However, they were unable to find any persons willing to take responsibility of the child.

The Juvenile Court stated that it released the order as the child’s father is unfit to take custody of the child as he himself has previous charges on multiple counts of drug abuse and has served time in prison.

Meanwhile, the child’s mother has responded to the court’s request to take custody of him by stating that she is unable to take guardianship of the child due to her current situation. Any further details of the reasons she presented to court have not been made public.

According to the court order, the recently formed Ministry of Law and Gender has to take responsibility for the child until he is eighteen years of age, or until the state is able to identify legal guardians from among his relatives.

In the order they released on Thursday, the court stated that in accordance with Article 35(a) of the Maldives Constitution, Child Rights Protection Act and international treaties, the state is mandated to take responsibility for children in such situations.

The order further states that the Ministry of Law and Gender and the Juvenile Justice Unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs had stated argued that they are unable to assume custody of the child as there is currently no system set in place where such minors can be housed and taken care of.

The court, however, ordered the Gender Ministry to take custody of the child until he is 18-years-old or other legal guardians are arranged.

While the Ministry of Gender and Law confirmed that Deputy Minister Shidhatha Shareef is in charge of the matter, Minivan News was unable to contact her at the time of press.

Juvenile Court Media Spokesperson Fathimath Sajidha was unable to provide further information on the matter at the time of press.


High Court rules both parents must be present at child custody hearings

The High Court has ruled on Monday that both parents must be summoned to court before a child is questioned regarding cases of child custody in the event of divorce.

The court ruled as such in a hearing in which it overruled a Family Court sentence that handed custody of a child to an Indian mother rather than her Maldivian father.

The High Court sentence claimed that it is not just to let the child decide who he or she wanted to live with in the absence of any one parent, and on those grounds overturned the Family Court verdict.


High Court upholds decision to return baby to German mother

The High Court has today (March 20) ruled in support of the Family Court decision to return the five month old baby of Ahmed Sharuan and Tanja Sharuan to the mother.

Details of the case revealed in an online petition launched by the mother claim that she was being accused by Sharuan of attempting to raise the child as a non-Muslim, despite having converted to Islam.

The High Court previously released a temporary injunction halting the Family Court order until the appeal case submitted to the superior court by Sharuan reached completion.

Police – having previously launched a search for Sharuan – ceased the investigation following the High Court order.

Speaking to Minivan News on Thursday afternoon, Tanja expressed joy at having received custody of her child.

“I am very happy about the High Court’s decision. I have always had faith in the Maldivian law. As a Muslim mother, I am more than happy to have my baby back in my arms,” Tanja said.

She further expressed gratitude for the “wonderful support given from [her] Maldivian friends”.

Three days ahead of Thursday’s court hearing, Tanja launched an Aavaaz petition seeking support in her case to gain custody of her child.

“My daughter is only five months old and she was abducted by her father from our then home in Zurich and he ran away with her to the Maldives. I am German but now in the Maldives and have submitted a case to the Family Court,” read the petition.

“The Family Court on Monday issued an injunction to my husband Ahmed Sharuan to hand over the baby to me within 24 hours, by 3pm Tuesday 11th February 2014.”

“However, he refused to obey this court order and went into hiding for several days. Whilst in hiding, he arranged a lawyer and submitted an appeal to the High Court to cancel the Family Court injunction. The High Court on Sunday 16th March, suspended the injunction of the Family Court without even hearing my side of the story and without a hearing,” it continued.

“I need all your support to achieve justice in this case. I am hoping that the Maldives justice system will deliver a fair judgement and give me the custody of my child according to the law,” concluded the petition, which has received over 600 signatures at the time of press.


High Court issues injunction against Family Court order to return child to mother

The High Court has released a temporary injunction halting the implementation of a Family Court order asking a man to hand over his five month old baby to its Swiss mother.

The man has been identified by the police as Ahmed Sharuvan,  age 32, from Kanmatheege in Maradhoo in Seenu atoll. The information had been released when police launched a nationwide search for the man after he failed to comply with a Family Court order last week.

The superior court released the injunction after Sharuvan submitted an appeal in the court against the Family Court’s verdict.

The High Court injunction – signed by three judges – stated that the court believes it important to halt the Family Court order until after Sharuvan’s appeal has been completed.

Although the case’s first hearing was scheduled by the High Court for Sunday, it was later cancelled.

Sharuvan’s wife – identified in local media with only a first name, Tanya – also attended Sunday’s court hearing.

Sharuvan attended Sunday’s hearing at the scheduled time and was accompanied by a lawyer. Police began questioning him outside the court premises, with Sharuvan responding by showing the police the High Court’s temporary injunction.

In spite of this, police took Sharuvan to the police headquarters for further “discussions”.

“We did not have the jurisdiction to arrest him then due to the High Court injunction although we were previously looking for him,” a police media official told Minivan News today.

“So we requested him to come along with us to headquarters for further discussions and he obliged. We did not have the jurisdiction to directly question him, so we just held a discussion. He left the police premises directly after the discussion.”

Owing to the High Court injunction, police revealed that the baby remains in the custody of the father. They stated that the police cannot take any action on the matter until Sharuvan’s appeal case at the High Court reaches completion.


Police searching for man who refuses to hand over 5 month old baby

Police have launched a search for a man accused of refusing to hand over his five month old baby to the mother.

Police stated that they are looking for the man after he failed to follow a court order on March 10 which asked him to hand over the child within a period of 24 hours.

In accordance with a Family Court order, the police are looking for Ahmed Sharuvan of age 32 years from Kanmatheege in Seenu Atoll Maradhoo.

Police have appealed to the public to report any information held about Sharuvan to the police at the earliest.