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American Woman Loses Custody Of Daughter In Saudi Arabia After Bikini Photos Shown To Judge

By LawStreet News Network      19 July, 2019 12:00 AM      0 Comments
American Woman Loses Custody Of Daughter In Saudi Arabia After Bikini Photos Shown To Judge

An American woman in Saudi Arabia has recently lost custody of her daughter after her ex-husband showed her bikini photos to the court.

Bethany Vierra's ex-husband submitted photos of her in a bikini and yoga pants and claimed before the judge that she was unfit to raise their four-year-old daughter Zeina.

The court passed the order in favour of Vierra's ex-husband despite witnessing videos of her ex-husband's alleged drug use and verbal abuse. The court granted divorce to Vierra, however, rejected her demand for custody of her daughter.

As per reports, Vierra's ex-husband also told the court that because she runs a yoga studio in Riyadh it is not possible for her to take proper care of the child. The ex-husband admitted before the Saudi court that he had used drug but claimed that Vierra gave him the drugs.

“It’s like 10,000 times worse here because so much is at risk for women when they go to court. I genuinely thought that there would still be justice served here, and I kind of put everything on that," Independent quoted Vierra as saying.

Under Saudi law, which is based on Islamic law, or sharia, mothers generally retain day-to-day custody of sons until they turn 9, and daughters until they turn 7, while fathers remain their legal guardians. The Saudi government had announced last year that Saudi mothers could keep custody of children after a divorce without having to file a lawsuit, as they had previously had to do, unless the father was contesting custody.

But Saudi courts always emphasise on the point that children are raised in accordance with Islam. According to court documents, the judge ruled in favour of Vierra’s ex-husband because the judge accepted his claim that Vierra was unfit to raise Zeina because she was a Westerner and a businesswoman.

“Since the mother is new to Islam and a foreigner in this country and embraces customs and traditions in the way she was raised,” the judge wrote in his ruling, “we must avoid exposing Zeina to these traditions.”

Vierra originally from the US moved to Saudi Arabia in 2011 to teach at a women's university. Vierra married a Saudi businessman but sought divorce from him after he had allegedly become abusive.

(Source: The Independent)

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