Judge Stages Fake Wedding With Ex To Block Him From Marrying Again

A French judge used a stand-in for the role of the groom, registering her ex-boyfriend's name as her husband because she feared he would marry another woman.

Judge Stages Fake Wedding With Ex To Block Him From Marrying Again
Emma Flacard

Souad Meslem, a 59-year-old French judge, faces up to 10 years in prison for allegedly using her legal authority to orchestrate a sham wedding, to prevent her ex-partner from getting married.

The romanesque folly, as a fellow magistrate called the whole affair, had started off so well back in 2017, Le Monde reports. Meslem and her partner were about to move together to La Réunion — a heavenly island and French overseas department in the Indian Ocean — after she had been nominated assistant public prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Saint-Denis de La Réunion. Meslam would move first, and her partner and father of their four children would join her there a few weeks later.

But he never showed up, announcing instead that he wanted to break up after 28 years together after he had fallen in love with one of their mutual friends.

It was too much for Meslem, who feared the pair would marry. She devised a detailed plan to sabotage her ex-partner, which became "an obsession," according to a senior judicial official quoted in Le Monde.

She stole his passport, made a copy and got access to his birth certificate. With these precious documents, Meslem began to meticulously organize the wedding for March 5, 2019. She published the official announcement, booked a slot at the town hall for the ceremony and even bought a plane ticket for her ex-partner's brother whom she'd recruited as the stand-in groom. The jilted mother also convinced her eldest daughter to sign the official documents as a witness for the groom.

It was only a few months later that the "lucky guy," a lawyer himself, found out through colleagues that he was officially married to his ex. Meslem, who had come back to mainland France, had just been appointed vice-president of Colombes local tribunal, a suburb west of Paris, in September 2019.

Meslem was arrested two months later near Paris, and was later charged by an examining magistrate, in Versailles, for "forgery and use of forgeries in public writing, undue obtaining of administrative documents and use of forged administrative documents by a person holding public authority." She was placed under legal supervision, and suspended from her post for "failures in her duties of legality, probity and integrity."

While Meslem could face a ten-year sentence on mainland France, the court back on the island of La Réunion has launched proceedings to annul the bogus wedding.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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