A Palestinian resident in Ghana holding a Lebanese passport has been dragged before an Accra Matrimonial High Court over the custody of children with his wife.
The accused, Al-Malak Ahmad, with his Lebanese wife, are before the court after an initial attempt to amicably settle the dispute had failed.
While the matter was pending before court, Al-Malak reportedly smuggled the three children, aged between three and eight, out of the country to Lebanon under the pretext of taking them to a weekend party.
The accused had earlier prayed the court, presided over by Justice Cecilia Don-Chebe, to grant him an extension of time to conclude settlement amicably in accordance with Islamic matrimonial law since the matrimonial court would normally promote amicable settlement.
But instead of going by his pleadings, the accused bolted with the kids and left them in Lebanon.
However, upon his arrival in Ghana on May 8, 2017, Al-Malak was arrested by the Airport District Police who seized his passport and subsequently detained him for two days.
He arranged with a prominent Ghanaian businessman to bail him from police custody as well as get his passport from the police.
When the case was called for hearing on May 15, 2017, Ralph Poku Edusei, lawyer for Al-Malak, attempted to downplay the severity of his client’s act.
He argued that the couple had been in the country for some years and that their children were born in Ghana and so it was not criminal for Al-Malak to send them out for vacation.
According to him, his client under Islamic law, has the right to take custody of his children and decide where they should reside.
But the judge disagreed, stressing that so far as the couple and their siblings live in Ghana, they ought to respect and obey the laws of the country.
The court ordered George Ankoma Mensah, lawyer for the complainant, to file a motion for the re-arrest of Al-Malak for not being in court when he had been served to appear in court.
Responding to Mr Edusei’s comments, Mr. Mensah expressed surprise about the arguments of his learned colleague, stating that Edusei ought to have condemned the action of his client.
He contended that the absence of Al-Malak in court was an insult to the court and the nation, describing his conduct as reprehensible.
A follow-up to the Police Anti-Human Traffic Unit at the police headquarters about the passport of the suspect revealed that the passport was released to Al-Malak to go to Lebanon and bring the children to their mother.
ASP Michael Yaw Baah of the Police Anti-Human Traffic Unit has said that if Al-Malak failed to return to Ghana with the children, the police would initiate the procedure for the court to hold the surety for the escape of the accused.
Interpol would also have to activate its intelligence system to apprehend the accused to ensure that he faces trial and pays the right alimony to his wife. The case continues this week.