CAIRO: A court verdict last Thursday granted Hend El Hennawi a divorce from actor Ahmed El Fishawi upon her request, in one of the closing chapters of a case that split public opinion over the past three years.
The media debate was triggered when El Hennawi claimed that El Fishawi was the father of her yet unborn child, the fruit of a urfi marriage (a common-law marriage without an official contract).
When El Fishawi denied her claim, El Hennawi, having given birth to her daughter Lina, filed a law suit against him to prove his paternity.
A court ruling on May 24, 2006 declared El Fishawi Lina’s father in a highly anticipated verdict. This appeal had overturned the initial Jan.16, 2006 verdict, which refused to acknowledge El Fishawi’s parentage.
The court had ordered a DNA test which El Fishawi refused to take, so it based the verdict on its own investigation.
According to Mamdouh El Weseimy, El Hennawi’s lawyer, “Hend, Ahmed and Farouq El Fishawi, Ahmed’s father, were all questioned and Ahmed had admitted to having sex with Hend at his father’s apartment, their relationship was known to the public.
Yet throughout the proceedings, El Fishawi had insisted that despite having had a sexual relationship with El Hennawi, they were never married.
El Weseimy told Daily News Egypt that the patrimony ruling had included a de facto affirmation that the two were married and that this was how El Hennawi was finally granted the divorce.
Thursday’s ruling, he continued, hinged on the fact that the marriage lacked one of the preconditions of a valid marriage stipulated by Sharia (Islamic law) namely, that at least two people must witness the vows, otherwise the contract is null.
“I’m very happy for the divorce, El Hennawi told Daily News Egypt. “I wanted this document for my daughter Lina. I needed this to make Ahmed stop lying.
El Hennawi, a marketing manager, also needed this document in case she wanted to re-marry.
El Fishawi’s lawyers can, however, appeal the ruling within 40 days.
“If they decide to appeal, says El Weseimy, “we will have to fight it out again in the appeals court. If not, we’ll see whether or not to proceed in another battle for Hend’s rights, her alimony and dowry.
Daily News Egypt repeatedly tried to reach Ahmed El Fishawi and his lawyers for comment, but they refused.