A FATHER at the centre of a row about the circumcision of his five-year-old daughter was yesterday awarded custody of the child.
The girl's Bahraini mother, 28, was previously arrested after a six-day hunt when she went into hiding with the youngster, to avoid having to hand her back to the Emirati following a custody visit.
She was released the following day and filed an official complaint against her ex-husband, accusing him of performing illegal circumcision on the child.
Sharia Court judges yesterday refused mother's request to impose a travel ban to keep the girl in Bahrain, during a closed-door session but awarded the father custody.
The father's lawyers earlier admitted that the girl had been circumcised, but said it was a tradition practised in the UAE and was done legally by doctors.
Medical experts previously ruled out the mother's claims that a maid assaulted her daughter in the custody of her father in the UAE.
The couple married in 2004 and their daughter was born the following year.
They divorced a year later and the father returned to the UAE with the child.
However, the mother then fought for legal custody of her daughter in Bahrain's courts, which granted her full custody in 2006.
But the child's father also filed a case in the UAE, where a court awarded him full custody in 2008, although the mother later won visitation rights.
The mother now plans to continue her custody battle at the Islamic Sharia court.
It is understood the girl was not immediately handed over to the father after yesterday's ruling.