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Rifqa Bary to stay in Florida for now--Updated

See Robert Spencer's live blogging of the hearing here.

I thought this reader comment from a Florida lawyer not involved in the case but looking on was particularly interesting.

The next hearing is set for Sept. 29.

I plan to add some more comments of my own to this entry as and when I have time to do so, but the first priority was to get the news out to any readers who had not seen it already on Jihad Watch. Whether she is out of the woods or not is unclear to me. The process grinds forward, and I believe we should continue praying for her. But it's probably best described as a case of so far so good.

Additional comments: (I'm linking to Pamela Geller's observations for convenience, but these comments are based on other reports of the hearing as well.)

There is some evidence that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not believe Rifqa's claim that her father threatened to kill her or else, for some reason, took his threat not to be "credible." This is conjecture, as the FDLE's report has been temporarily sealed. In apparent violation of that seal, an attorney for Rifqa's parents made the claim in open court that the FDLE report was favorable to his clients' claims rather than supporting Rifqa.

This is disturbing to those of us concerned for Rifqa's safety; it's worth remembering that law enforcement sometimes claims that threats are not "credible" even when they are forced to acknowledge that a threat has actually been made--for example, if someone has received a threatening letter or e-mail. Rifqa apparently asked to have legal counsel present when being interviewed by FDLE, but her request was denied, and her guardian ad litem (who appears to be on her side) was unhappy with the way the interview was handled and the fact that it left Rifqa "frantic."

Another disturbing possibility is that the parents will try to charge in Ohio that Rifqa is an "unruly delinquent," which has the potential to open up the jurisdiction issue again. I don't know enough about the law to know what effect this could have.

On the other hand, there are several positive aspects of the situation, even those that might appear not to be. For one thing, the Barys' lawyer is evidently being arrogant and uncooperative with the judge, which cannot help matters for his clients. He has refused to produce documentation relevant to Rifqa's immigration status, and he has repeatedly stated that mediation, which the judge has ordered, is pointless. This is all to the good. If Rifqa's parents are uncooperative, I would think that this can only keep the case spinning in the court as well as antagonizing the judge, which should aid the cause of keeping her in Florida.

Second, all reports indicate that the guardian ad litem is really concerned for Rifqa's safety and is on her side. The lawyer whose comment I linked above indicated that the GAL's opinion is very influential in cases like this, apparently more so than the FDLE report would be.

Third, in a development that may not look positive but I think may be helpful in the end, Rifqa's father is making no attempt to hide his control freak side. His lawyer pushed very hard to have Rifqa banned from seeing her Christian friends in Florida, though the State of Florida officially has custody. The DCF evidently agreed that she need not see the Lorenz parents (to whom she originally fled), but they did not agree to the attempt to isolate Rifqa from the Lorenz children, who are close to Rifqa's own age and are presently among her closest friends. It cannot predispose the judge to send Rifqa back to her father when he has the chutzpah to try to control her interaction with Christian young people while she is in another state and at the moment not even in his custody.

As you saw if you clicked on the on-looker lawyer's opinion in the initial post, he believes that at this point Rifqa will stay in Florida indefinitely. He concludes this from the power of the judge in this case, the fact that the judge appears not to be disposed to send Rifqa back, and the inclination of the guardian ad litem. Of course, to those of us without his experience, the whole thing looks like one cliff-hanger after another, especially with the possibility of the re-opening of the jurisdiction question. But I certainly hope and pray that he's right.

Comments (3)

Thanks. The hearing was underway on my way to work, but didn't know the outcome until now.

Thank the Lord. I was just thinking of her this evening . . .

Thank God.

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