A BAHRAINI woman is hoping to win back custody of her two children after they were taken from her when her ex-husband accused her of being a prostitute.
The 29-year-old, identified only as Suad for legal reasons, has been acquitted of the charge, but the Sunni Sharia court has granted custody of her two youngest children - Jameela, aged nine, and Mohammed, eight - to their father.
Suad, who was married for 10 years, claims her marriage fell apart because her ex-husband used to get drunk, beat her and sleep with other women through temporary marriages.
She says he also forced her into schemes to get presents from other men by flirting with them, as well as stealing items from the supermarket.
The couple's eldest son Ahmed, 12, is living with his mother because he reportedly refused to live with his father, but the other two children who are in their father's care are too young to fully understand what is going on, she claimed.
Her ex-husband, a policeman, lives in a large villa with their two children Jameela and Mohammed, while she and Ahmed live in an apartment a short distance away, both in his hometown of Muharraq.
The father is now reportedly trying to take possession of the apartment as well.
Suad has turned to women's rights activist Ghada Jamsheer for help because her family - apart from one cousin - live in the UAE, where she is originally from.
"I got married in 1993 when I was 16-years-old," she said.
"My husband was five years older than me - he was a friend of my brother and that's how I met him. I married him out of my own will."
The pair met when Suad was in Bahrain visiting a cousin who lives here.
"The problems in our marriage were always there since the beginning, but I didn't have anyone to go to in Bahrain since I had no close family here," she said.
"He used to point his weapons at me, so a court banned him from carrying any weapons after I complained.
"He would also get drunk, beat me and chase after Filipina and Thai women.
"He also married other women by temporary marriages (zawaj muta'a).
"He also used to make me call up his friends, pretend to be his sister and flirt with them so that they would buy me presents like mobile phones and calling cards.
"He used to make me steal things by stashing groceries and other stuff from the supermarket in my handbag against my will.
"When I used to work in 1993, I would get paid between BD70 and BD150, but he always took my full salary.
"After we got divorced I stopped working - I fell sick with an atrophy in the chest and he used to force me to work even though my health condition was deteriorating.
"His own salary is about BD300 a month, but he would spend the money on himself and his family, I wouldn't see any money from him.
"The divorce was my decision. In 2000, I'd had enough and filed a case in court against him seeking for a divorce."
It took three years for the divorce to finally go through.
"The first ruling was for me, the kids were under my custody," said Suad.
"Then, he filed a prostitution case against me in court.
"Even though I was acquitted, I was jailed for 42 days because of this.
"While I was in jail my husband took our kids to a cemetery with a grave marked with a stone that had the name Suad on it and told them their mother had died.
"I was heartbroken and stunned to see their extreme shock when they saw me again after I was released from prison.
"But then, after the prostitution case, the court took custody of the children away from me and gave custody to their father.
"When the children were with me they were all outstanding students, getting the highest grades and receiving certificates of excellence, but when I was imprisoned, Ahmed's grades dropped and he got 22/50 in a test - which has never happened before.
"I proved this to the court by showing them his results from before and after.
"Ahmed told the court that his dad took him to an apartment with a bunch of Filipina and Thai ladies there, as well as a lot of alcohol.
"He knows the location of the apartment and said he refused to live with his father, so the court gave custody to me.
"I told the judge about the women and the temporary marriages, but he said I needed to show proof - which I could not because there is no actual evidence, it's a decision between my husband and that woman.
"My other two kids live in the villa with their father, but they want their mother and their father doesn't want them."