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Saturday, April 30, 2016

‘Arrest warrant just a slap on Ridhuan’s wrist’


The Federal Court's order for the arrest of Muslim convert Mohd Ridhuan Abdullah, would probably not see him behind bars for long, if at all, say lawyers.
The Federal Court yesterday found the committal order against Ridhuan to be justified as he had failed to bring his child, Prasana Diksa, to the jurisdiction of the court when instructed to.
The Apex court instructed the Ipoh High Court to monitor the arrest and the police to execute the warrant.
But Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association (PGSM) president Musa Awang said the arrest warrant may not mean that Ridhuan will immediately see the insides of a prison cell.
“The warrant is just to produce Ridhuan in court and then he has to give his reasons why he didn’t obey the court’s order.
“He can submit his reasons on why he thinks it is not suited for the child if she were to stay with his ex-wife,” Musa told Malaysiakini.
And should Ridhuan be able to provide concrete reasons, he might not even be penalised, added Musa.
Child should choose
Citing the Islamic Family Law (Perak) Enactment, Musa said a daughter can choose which parent she wants to live with after the age of nine.
Prasana, however, has yet to be asked by the court to choose, as she is only eight years old.
“Maybe after the child is nine years old, she can choose to live with either parent.
“But it also depends on whether the parent chosen can ensure her welfare. If she chooses either parent and the court does not think that the parent can take care of her, they probably will not give custody to that parent.
“But I’m of the opinion that the right must be given to the child to make a choice,” said Musa.
Meanwhile, lawyer Anand Suppiah who specialises in family law agreed that the warrant was only to produce Ridhuan in court and would not really see Ridhuan placed behind bars for too long.
He explained that the warrant and the arrest itself is not the punishment, but simply the mechanism to bring Ridhuan before a judge to mete out whatever sanction, if any, for him flouting the court's earlier direction.
Get away with a fine
Though Anand too, did not foresee the father of three spending more than one day at the lock-up, to be produced in court the next day.
“The arrest warrant is just to bring him to the court and nothing more. The actual punishment will be meted out when he is produced.
“He then needs to explain why he didn’t obey the court’s order and he may apologise. He’ll probably be given a lighter sentence and sometimes some can even get away with a fine,” said Anand.
The five-man bench chaired by Court of Appeal president Md Raus Sharif had allowed kindergarten teacher M Indira Gandhi's appeal to reinstate the mandamus order issued by the High Court in Ipoh compelling inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar to execute the warrant of committal against her former husband, Ridhuan.
Prasana Diksa was 11 months old when Ridhuan took her away. Indira has not seen her daughter in eight years.
Two other children who are staying with Indira are now aged 19 and 18 respectively.
Indira is locked in a bitter custody battle against Ridhuan who wanted to take all three children away from the kindergarten teacher as he feared for their faith, claiming that he had converted them all to Islam, following his own conversion.


-Mkini

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