Smokers may be denied child custody in Saudi

Saudi Arabia’s judicial authorities are considering enacting laws depriving any of the separated parents from taking custody of their children in case they are smokers, a newspaper in the Gulf kingdom reported on Thursday.

Judges at courts across the country are discussing such a legislation which could be the first if its kind in the Arab region, the Arabic language daily Aleqtisadiah said.

“The courts are debating a law depriving a father or a mother from taking custody of children if he or she is found to be a smoker,” the paper said, quoting court sources.

“The law, which has to be approved by the cabinet, will give a non-smoker parent priority for taking custody of the children if the parents are divorced or separated because of the proven harm caused by smoking to children.”

The paper quoted the sources as saying the new law would consider smoking parents as those who drink liquor and that any court sentence on custody would be based on whether any of the separated parents are smokers.

The paper did not make clear what would happen if both separated parents are smokers.

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