Afsana Lachaux, a British citizen, fears she may never get the chance to see her son Louis again following a ruling by a court in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, granting custody of the 5-year-old child to her former husband.
Afsana married her husband, Bruno, in 2010 and gave birth to Louis in Dubai. But after the marriage broke down, she claims the courts sided with her French husband because of the dominant position of men under Sharia law.
“I truly believed I was beginning the happiest period of my life,” she said, reports the Express. “I quickly realized that the reality of being Bruno’s wife was vastly different from seeing him for what were like a string of holidays during our courtship.”
Afsana accused her ex-husband of being controlling and critical of her because she couldn’t breast-feed.
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“We had constant arguments because he said I wouldn’t obey him and he kept reminding me that we lived in an Islamic country now where a man’s word is law,” she claimed.
Her husband charged her with abduction after she moved out of the family home with Louis. She tried to travel with her son to the U.K., but Bruno secured a travel ban, according to The Independent. Afsana’s passport was then confiscated as part of a libel charge launched by her husband.
After staying for a time in a women’s shelter, Afsana went into hiding. It was then that a court declared that she “didn’t obey her husband, was careless in taking care of her son because of his eczema, and spent evenings at nightclubs.”
The mother’s lawyers advised her to leave the country in March 2014 when her passport was returned.
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The court granted her visiting rights for her son, if she travels to Bruno’s home in Dubai.
“They made it impossible for me. I know that the moment I set foot on Dubai soil I would be arrested again and my passport seized,” she said.
In article in The Independent from January 2014, Bruno strongly disputed his former wife’s account, stating that he was never violent. He also argued he had lawfully secured custody of Louis.
Afsana now believes she can only wait.
“My only hope is that when he is 18, Louis will come looking for me,” she told the Express.