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Yet another delay for S. Deepa to be reunited with her son

Women’s Aid Organisation

Press statement, 14 January 2015

For more information: Yu Ren Chung, 010 225 7971

Today the Federal Court granted leave to Izwan Abdullah, S. Deepa’s ex-husband, to appeal against the Custody Order (which grants custody of the two children to Deepa), as well as the Recovery Order (which orders the recovery of the son who had been abducted from Deepa by Izwan). The Federal Court also granted leave to the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Inspector-General of Police, interveners in the case, to appeal against the Recovery Order.

The Federal Court also stayed both the Recovery Order and the Custody Order until the court reaches a final decision.

We are concerned that this is yet another delay for Deepa to be reunited with her son. Until today, Deepa and her son have not seen each other for nearly a year. Her grief as a mother was evident in her immediate reactions following the court’s decision:

“While the court makes a final decision, my only wish is for me to have a chance to spend time with my son. I love my son and I miss him every second. Many women in Malaysia face the same problem as I. I hope in such cases, the courts consider the best interest of the children, and the importance of a mother’s love. I’m so disappointed that my son has to be put through all this because of what his father has done.”

Deepa has already painstakingly gone through the court system, and various government institutions have previously failed to uphold her rights.

The Negeri Sembilan Islamic Religious Affairs Department allowed Izwan to unilaterally (without Deepa’s consent) convert their two children, then the Syariah court granted custody of the children to Izwan without even hearing Deepa’s side of the story.

After Deepa won custody in the Seremban High Court (which heard both sides of the story), Izwan violently abducted the son from Deepa. This violated the Custody Order and the interim protection order (IPO) which Deepa had obtained, yet no action was taken against Izwan. During their marriage, Deepa had lodged over 25 police reports relating to domestic violence, and obtained an IPO to protect her from further abuse. Finally, when the High Court issued a Recovery Order, the police did not comply with the order.

Relevant family laws should be amended to explicitly disallow government institutions from repeating such violations.

While we are disappointed, we remain committed to seeing through the legal process to ensure Deepa is reunited with her son as soon as possible.

WOMEN’S AID ORGANISATION (WAO) provides shelter, social work, and counseling services for domestic violence survivors and advocates for women’s human rights. Call our counselling line at 03 7956 3488 or SMS TINA at 018 988 8058 if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse. Together, we change lives.

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