Malaysian-Belgian custody battle continues
Submitted by Najiah on Monday, January 18th, 2010
* custody battle
* Elis Syuhaila Mokhtar
* Frank Theodorus Van de Ven @ Firdaus
Monday, January 18th, 2010 15:56:00
SHAH ALAM: In the ongoing custody battle over six-year-old Ferris Mokhtar, the Syariah High Court here today has set Feb 8 as the next mention date in the committal proceeding case filed against Dutchman Frank Theodorus Van de Ven @ Firdaus for his failure to return his son to his Malaysian mother.
Syarie Judge Abu Zaky Mohammad set next month's date to allow Ferris's mother, Elis Syuhaila Mokhtar, 34, to file her written submission for her application to commit her estranged husband over his failure to abide by the local court ruling to return her son, who is now alleged to be living in Belgium.
Elis was present in court today, together with her Syarie counsel Salwa Fadzil but Van de Ven was again absent.
After filing for divorce in January 2008, Van de Ven, 40, and Elis took turns looking after their young son on a weekly basis. The boy turned six last Dec 7.
However, on March 5, Van de Ven failed to return Ferris and was alleged to have smuggled his son to Belgium via Thailand, leading the Shah Alam High Court to issue an arrest warrant against the computer programmer on March 25.
Despite a Nov 10 court ruling bestowing Elis, a housewife and former lecturer, full custody of Ferris, Van de Ven has yet to return the boy.
It was further reported in a Malay daily that Van de Ven claimed he had been granted full custody for Ferris by a Belgian civil court on June 8, which he has applied for in early 2009, as Ferris had lived in Belgium throughout most of his life and Elis was allowed to supervised visit of their son in Belgium.
He further claimed it was Elis who had failed to return Ferris back to Belgium after visiting Malaysia in October 2007 for Aidilfitri celebrations, following problems with their marriage.
These were refuted by Elis, who claimed Van de Ven had chosen to return to Belgium alone in 2007, that Ferris was born in Putrajaya, and they had been living in Malaysia.
The case, fraught with allegations on both sides, has garnered much attention from both the local and abroad media, with even Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil asking Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail for his help in the efforts to have Ferris returned to his mother.
The couple met in Malaysia and were married in 2001.
Ferris was born in 2003 and has both a Malaysian and Belgian passport, which the court allowed Elis to keep.