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Prince wins custody case

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuter) - A Malaysian prince who failed to return his two children to his Australian ex-wife after an access visit has custody rights under Islamic laws, Syed Hamid Albar, the Malaysian Law Minister, said yesterday. 'Under our Islamic family law, a mother automatically loses custody of her children if she changes her religion,' Mr Syed Hamid said. 'So, if she is not happy she should not raise the case in Australia but come to Malaysia (to appeal),' he said.

An Islamic court in Malaysia ruled in June that Raja Bahrin Shah should have custody over his son Iddin, 9, and daughter Shah, 7, and that the children could not leave Malaysia until they were 18. Their mother, Jacqueline Gillespie, was given sole custody by the Family Court of Australia after she separated from Raja Bahrin in 1985.