Published: 17/01/2007 12:00 AM (UAE)

Divorcee pledges to continue fight to clear her name By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief

Manama: A divorcee has vowed to continue her struggle to clear her name as she faces defamation charges after she criticised Sharia court judges and the absence of a personal status law in Bahrain.

"They are trying to pressure me to shut my mouth after I had spoken to the media. What scares me most of all is that they may try to take my children away or jail me on the charges of defamation and then take my children away as a result of that," Suad Mohammad Fadl Allah was quoted as saying.

The charges come on the heels of phone threats for speaking out against biased judges and the lack of support for women's rights, the vice-president of the now-dissolved Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab yesterday said.

The centre and the Women's Petition Committee are now campaigning for the charges to be dropped and for the enactment of a status law to help abused women. "Suad, 29, has been receiving death threats after being interviewed on Al Hurra television about the disintegration of her family.

In 1993, Suad, 16 years old then, married a Bahraini whom she met during a trip to Bahrain. But the marriage ended 10 years later after she filed for divorce, claiming that her husband was a violent and abusive drunk who used to beat her.

Suad temporarily lost custody of her children after her ex-husband filed a court case against her accusing her of being a prostitute. She said she was jailed for 42 days during which her children were told that she had died.

But, according to Nabeel, though Suad was acquitted of the charges, the Sharia court granted custody of the children to their father.