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Minya's wife

Forced annulment keeps couple apart...

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Two years ago, a knock on Fatima and Mansour al-Timani's door shattered the life they had built together.

It was the police, delivering news that a judge had annulled their marriage in absentia after some of Fatima's relatives sought the divorce on grounds she had married beneath her. That was just the beginning of an ordeal for a couple who — under Saudi Arabia's strict segregation rules — can no longer live together. They sued to reverse the ruling, publicized their story and sought help from a Saudi human rights group.

But the two remain apart and Fatima said she is considering suicide if her recent appeal to King Abdullah does not reunite her with her husband.

"Only the king can resolve my case," Fatima told The Associated Press by telephone in a rare interview. "I want to return to my husband, but if that is not possible, I need to know so I can put an end to my life."

Fatima's case underscores shortcomings in the kingdom's Islamic legal system in which rules of evidence are shaky, lawyers are not always present and sentences often depend on the whim of judges.

The most frequent victims are women, who already suffer severe restrictions on daily life in Saudi Arabia: They cannot drive, appear before a judge without a male representative, or travel abroad without a male guardian's permission.

Recently, the king did intervene and pardon another high-profile defendant — a rape victim who was sentenced to lashes and jail time for being in a car with a man who was not her relative.

The two cases have brought Saudi human rights once again into the international spotlight, revealing not only the weakness of the kingdom's justice system, but the scant rights of Saudi women.

"When I heard that the (rape victim) was pardoned, I couldn't believe it. My case is so much simpler than hers, since my divorce is invalid," Fatima said.

Fatima said her husband, a hospital administrator, followed Saudi tradition in asking her father for permission to marry her in 2003.

"My brother reported good things about him, so my dad accepted his proposal," said Fatima, a computer specialist who was 29 when she married.

She said her father knew that Mansour came from a less prominent tribe than hers, but that he did not mind because he "cared about the man himself."

A few months after the wedding, several of Fatima's relatives, including a half brother, persuaded her father to give them power of attorney to file a lawsuit demanding an annulment, she said.

Then her father died, and Fatima said she had hoped the case would be dropped.

But on Feb. 25, 2006, police knocked on the couple's door to serve Mansour with divorce papers — which said his marriage had been annulled nine months earlier.

"We were shattered. How did this happen? Why?" Fatima asked.

Under Saudi law, a woman needs the permission of her family to marry.

Saudi lawyer Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem, who used to represent the couple, said local interpretations of Islamic law hold that relatives of a married couple have the right to seek an annulment if they feel the marriage lowers the extended family's status.

He said authorities are reluctant to overrule such annulment orders, believing they are private matters within extended families.

Fatima took the couple's 2-year-old daughter and 4-month-old son to live with her mother, who had persuaded her to let Mansour deal with the legal issues on his own.

But after three months without her husband, Fatima and the children sneaked out of her mother's house and flew with Mansour to the western seaside city of Jiddah, where they sought to live in anonymity.

Saudi police soon discovered them and imprisoned the family for living together illegally.

"The police told me I either return to my (mother's) family or go to jail," Fatima said. "I chose jail."

"My children and I were thrown in a cell with women sentenced for pushing drugs, practicing witchcraft and behaving immorally," Fatima said. Authorities allowed her to send her daughter back to live with her father, but the infant stayed with Fatima in jail.

"He learned to speak in jail, he learned to walk in jail and his teeth came out in jail," she said.

Meanwhile, Mansour went to court to appeal the divorce ruling, but a Riyadh appeals court upheld the decision in 2007.

Last September, the head of a prominent Saudi human rights group reportedly asked the kingdom's highest court to review the case.

Bandar al-Hajjar, head of the National Society of Human Rights, submitted two Islamic studies concluding that the divorce was invalid, according to the Arab News, a Saudi English-language daily.

The studies, conducted by Islamic researcher Adnan Al-Zahrani and Bassam Al-Bassam, a counselor at the Court of Cassation in Mecca, said that if a woman's legal guardian represented her at the original wedding, then other relatives have no right to object to the marriage based on compatibility.

Both studies concluded that Fatima married Mansour with her father's permission, and that only the wife can decide whether she wants her marriage annulled, the paper reported.

Despite their legal fight, Fatima and Mansour remain apart.

After nine months in jail, Fatima moved to an orphanage where she and her son share an apartment with several other women.

Fatima said she is holding out hope the king might pardon her, and recognize her as "married to Mansour, before God."

"I love him more than ever. He's the only one who has stood by me," she said.

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Love timeline:

??? 2003 -------> Started chatting regularly, became good friends

Nov 2004 -------> Fell in love

Jan 2006 -------> Met (in person) for first time

Apr 2008 -------> Wedding

Jun 2008 -------> Closed on house together

K-1 timeline:

Jun 11, 2007 -------> I-129f sent

Mar 20, 2008 -------> Visa in hand

AoS/EAD/AP timeline:

Apr 26, 2008 -------> Wedding

Apr 28, 2008 -------> Filed (forms mailed)

Apr 30, 2008 -------> Forms received by USCIS

May 06, 2008 -------> Cashed check posted to account

May 10, 2008 -------> NOA1 received for EAD, AP, and AoS

May 10, 2008 -------> Biometrics appt date received

May 28, 2008 -------> Biometrics for EAD & AoS

Jun 11, 2008 -------> AoS case transferred to CSC

Jul 05, 2008 -------> AP Approval

Jul 09, 2008 -------> EAD approval

Jul 14, 2008 -------> EAD and AP received

Jul 17, 2008 -------> AoS approved (card production ordered)

Now for my obnoxious signature Meez©:

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Jamaica
Timeline

OMG - I know how much my dad objected to me marrying my husband, but he has come around. I can not even imagine being in her situation. I hope the king rules in her favor. :yes:


I-130 for husband - see TIMELINE

10/23/2007 - Receive SSC (took 9 days from POE)

12/04/2007 - Receive Welcome Letter

12/14/2007 - Received 2nd Welcome Letter and Green card!!!

======================================================

N-400

09/21/2010 - Mailed application to Lewisville TX location

09/23/2010 - Information input in the system/check cashed

09/29/2010 - N-400 receipt received

09/30/2010 - RFE mailed

10/15/2010 - Biometrics appt (@8am) YAY!!!!

11/20/2010 - Received the yellow letter (dated 11/17/2010)

11/30/2010 - Case moved to the Testing & Interview stage (Email)

12/03/2010 - Received interview letter

01/06/2011 - Interview @ 10:15a...APPROVED!

02/12/2011 - Received oath ceremony letter (dated 02/10/2011)

02/18/2011 - Received descheduled oath ceremony letter (dated 2/15/2011)

02/26/2011 - Received new oath ceremony letter

03/02/2011 - Oath Ceremony @ 1:30p (IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!)

03/09/2011 - Oath Ceremony @ 1:30p...FINALLY A CITIZEN!!!

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Its just beyond me...this couple has two kids already. What is the family of this woman thinking? If this is allowed to stand, she will be living w/ that extended family...further "shaming" them by having two kids outside of marriage? Maybe I'm not understanding marriage laws, but if your marriage is annulled that means it never existed...any children born then are in effect bastards (sorry, I don't know the PC term for this). So which shame is greater, marrying someone "beneath you" or having kids out of wedlock? :wacko:


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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Hong Kong
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Man's inhumanity to Man knows no bounds :angry:


Scott - So. California, Lai - Hong Kong

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"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." - Ruth 1:16

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: United Kingdom
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The law there seems to leave women defenseless against all manner of abuses.

I'm surprised that a marriage can be annulled when it has quite obviously been consumated and produced children! What kind of family leaves a woman in that kind of situation?

Sadly there are probably many women suffering through similar situations.


Settling into married life

Waiting on the EAD, AP, and AOS

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ghana
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Its such a sad situation.

There is nothing in Islamic law that dictates that one needs to marry someone else of the same social status, etc so where do the Saudi muftis, sheikhs, whatever, get their justification from?

Besides the fact that you can't just spontaneously annul a marriage when (1) both parties are not willing (2) they have consumated the marriage and (3) they have 2 kids!!!

I don't understand it.


Mama to 2 beautiful boys (August 2011 and January 2015)

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Not Islam sister..saudis cultural version of it....and just wrong


Peace to All creatures great and small............................................

But when we turn to the Hebrew literature, we do not find such jokes about the donkey. Rather the animal is known for its strength and its loyalty to its master (Genesis 49:14; Numbers 22:30).

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my burro, bosco ..enjoying a beer in almaty

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/index.ph...st&id=10835

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ghana
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I agree 100% brother Dean....not Islam but Saudi interpretation of what Islam is...and they claim to be the experts :wacko:

But unfortunately, the world is not going to see it as such and just think that all Muslims are that stupid.

To quote my sister "More Saudi stupidity".


Mama to 2 beautiful boys (August 2011 and January 2015)

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your sister is wise


Peace to All creatures great and small............................................

But when we turn to the Hebrew literature, we do not find such jokes about the donkey. Rather the animal is known for its strength and its loyalty to its master (Genesis 49:14; Numbers 22:30).

Peppi_drinking_beer.jpg

my burro, bosco ..enjoying a beer in almaty

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/index.ph...st&id=10835

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