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Italian rules which mean children of married couples are automatically given only their father’s surname are unlawful, the country’s constitutional court ruled Tuesday.
The judgement was welcomed by campaigners as a milestone in a long legal and political battle to overturn regulations and practice they say are based on outdated patriarchal ideas.
“The court has declared the unlawfulness of rules providing for the automatic attribution of the paternal surname to legitimate children, when the parents wish otherwise,” the court said in a statement.
The court made its judgement in a case referred to it by a Genoa appeals court in which an Italian-Brazilian couple wanted to give their son both their surnames, as is traditional in Spain and much of South America and increasingly common among younger couples in northern Europe and North America.
The couple’s lawyers had argued that not allowing the son to have his mother’s surname, as well as his father’s, violated the principle of equality between the sexes.
As the court did not publish its reasoning immediately, there was still a question mark as to whether the case had opened the door to Italian parents being automatically able to give their kids double surnames, or whether the equality requirement could be met by offering only the right to choose between the mother and father’s surname.
Campaigners said the court’s ruling showed the urgent need for clear legislation after decades of parliamentary stalling on reform.
Legislation allowing children to be given their mothers’ surnames was first proposed 40 years ago. A draft bill has since been approved by the Chamber of Deputies but has been blocked for years in the Senate.
“The Constitutional Court has taken a decision of great importance for our society,” said Democratic Party deputy Fabrizia Giuliani.
“The Senate no longer has any excuse for not abolishing this anachronism and giving women their right in this matter.”
How quickly things will change remains to be seen. The constitutional court ruled in 2006 that the automatic attribution of paternal surnames was not consistent with the principle of equality between the sexes.
Italy’s rules have also been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 2014 that they could be used to discriminate against women.
Neither of those rulings led to reform of either the law or administrative practice.
U.S to withdraw citizenship from Hoda Muthana
A federal judge has ruled that a U.S.-born woman who traveled to Syria and joined ISIS is not an American citizen, even though the State Department had issued her a passport when she was a child and later renewed it.
Hoda Muthana, 25, was a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham when she traveled to Syria. She is currently being held at a detention camp in northern Syria with her young son.
In February, the State Department declared that Muthana “is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States.” The statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “she does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.”
The next day, her father, Ahmed Ali Muthana, filed a federal lawsuit.
Hoda Muthana’s citizenship was in dispute because her father was living in the U.S. and working as a diplomat for his home country, Yemen, prior to her birth. For families of diplomats, citizenship isn’t automatically conferred on babies born in the U.S. because of diplomatic immunity.
The central question in this case was when Ahmed Ali Muthana’s diplomatic immunity ended.
Yemen’s government dismissed him as a diplomat in June 1994, several months before his daughter was born. “We all agree that his duties had ended and he was no longer a diplomat” when Muthana was born, said Christina Jump, a lawyer from the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America who is representing the family. “The Department of State is now trying to continue that immunity beyond that timeframe.”
State Department officials say the U.S. Mission to the United Nations was officially notified that Ahmed Ali Muthana was terminated in February 1995, several months after his daughter’s birth. They say the date when the U.S. received notice about Muthana is what matters in determining diplomatic immunity, rather than when his duties ended.
They say that’s the reason why, in 2016, they declared his daughter’s passport was issued in error and revoked it.
The judge sided with the Trump administration in a ruling from the bench on Thursday, according to Jump.
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton told the court in Washington, D.C., that “he is bound by the statement of the Department of State as to when it received notice of Mr. Muthana’s termination of his position as a diplomat. … And that he did not have the flexibility to rule contrary to it,” Jump told NPR.
Walton has not yet issued a written ruling. Jump said that they are waiting to read it but that they will likely appeal.
The family says in court documents that it was never told by the State Department that there was any doubt about Hoda Muthana’s citizenship. If she had been denied a U.S. passport when she was young, the family would have logically gone through the steps of applying for U.S. citizenship on her behalf, their lawyer stated.
The judge told the court Thursday that his office had received about 6,000 messages from people about this case, Jump said. “A few of them in favor of Hoda and many of them threatening, which he has needed to refer to the Marshal’s office.”
Ahmed Ali Muthana asked the court whether he was legally able to send his daughter money or other forms of support such as jackets while she is detained in Syria. According to Jump, the judge refused to answer that question.
“He just simply said it would be inappropriate, in his mind, for him to issue a determination one way or another on the legality of that, since Mr. Muthana had not tried yet and sought permission before doing so,” Jump
Hoda Muthana was initially detained by Kurdish forces in a camp called al-Hol and was later moved to al-Roj camp, “in large part because she has clearly and repeatedly denounced ISIS,” according to Jump. She received threats, “and we believe that she continues to be in danger now.”
“I hope they excuse me because of how young and ignorant I was, really. And I can tell them that now I’ve changed,” Muthana told ABC News earlier this year. “And now I’m a mother. And now I have none of the ideology. And hopefully everyone will see it when I get back.
Muthana married an Australian ISIS fighter shortly after she arrived in Syria, according to court documents After that man died, she married a Tunisian man and they had a son. Her second husband also died. In 2018, as ISIS was rapidly losing territory, Muthana fled and was captured by the Kurdish forces.
Jump says Muthana has difficulty finding ways to communicate with her father. “It’s when she can borrow someone else’s phone. It’s not predictable, and it’s certainly not anything that can be scheduled,” Jump says. “It’s definitely not anything that can be done with any confidentiality attached.”
Jump says Muthana has never had any other citizenship. She has never been to Yemen, and it might not be possible for her to obtain Yemeni citizenship.
What will happen to Muthana and her child isn’t clear. Nathan Sales, the State Department’s acting under secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, said the department is still reviewing the ruling.
“Give us some time. We just got the opinion. We’ll have a considered reaction to it once we have a chance to digest,” he told reporters at a press briefing Thursday.
It’s worth noting that a group of eight U.S. citizens was repatriated back to the U.S. from Syria in June. They are thought to be the wives and children of ISIS fighters. Separately, a woman named Samantha Sally says she was dragged to Syria by her husband and has now returned to the U.S.
AFCON 2021: Rohr task Eagles to do more.
Super Eagles started their AFCON 2021 qualifier Campaign with a win against Benin on tuesday at Uyo.
The Super Eagle coach Gernot Rohr has laud his team for their effort to ensure a victory after narrowly coming from behind to win 2-1 victory against Benin.
Nigeria is currently sitting first in group L, after Lesotho and Sierra Leone played out a 1-1 draw at the Siaka Stevens Stadium.
Goals from Lille tailsman Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu sealed the victory for the eagles.
Rohr believes his team has the potential to win all their matches as they visit the Crocodiles of Lesotho on sunday to continue their impressive start.
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