UPDATE: Dubai: Mother jailed for adultery loses custody fight for children

The Guardian
Marnie Pearce, 40, has not seen her sons – Laith, seven, and Ziad, four – since she was imprisoned in the Arab emirate last month.
The supply teacher, originally from Bracknell in Berkshire, was found guilty of adultery by a Dubai court in November after her former husband, Ihab el-Labban, accused her of cheating on him. Pearce, who denies the charges against her, has lost two appeals against the conviction but has had her prison sentence cut from six months to three by Dubai's appeal court.
UPDATE on: wluml.org/english/newsfulltxt.shtml?cmd[157]=x-157-563457

A family court in Dubai ruled that she would lose custody of her two sons, who will stay with their Egyptian father. Pearce's former husband was given custody of her two children when she was sent to the Dubai Central Jail in Al Awir.

Her friend Sandy Norman said today's family court hearing in Dubai was "a done deal". She said: "As she was found guilty of adultery, it makes her an unfit mother. To my knowledge, no woman has won custody of her children in Dubai. It will be down to Marnie now to seek whatever custody rights from the UK when she returns."

Pearce was not present in court, but Norman said she would continue to fight an order for her deportation so she could remain in the same country as her sons. Norman said: "She's not coping well at all. If you mention the boys, or if she thinks about the boys, she cries. She's said to me that the most pain this causes her is not seeing the boys grow up and sharing those moments with them."

The boys had not yet visited their mother – who fears she will not see them until they are 18 if she is deported – but they wanted to see her, Norman said. In a statement posted on the campaign website, Save Marnie's Babies, Pearce wrote: "I have been the best mother that I could possibly have been. I may not be perfect but I have given them everything that God says you should give to your babies.

"They are my life and I would die for them. I really have battled and fought so hard and only God knows what lays ahead. I cannot even begin to put into words the feelings of desperation, loss, fear and numbness that I feel."

Pearce met her ex-husband in Oman and the couple married in the Seychelles in September 1999. They moved to Dubai after having their two children, but their marriage broke down. She was arrested and accused of committing adultery in March last year, but she insists the British man she was with was only a friend.

Human rights group Amnesty International has called for her immediate and unconditional release, describing her as a "prisoner of conscience". It argues that, regardless of claims against her, consenting sex between adults is not criminal matter.

24 March 2009

By Alexandra Topping and agencies

Source: The Guardian