Thu 15 May 2008, 8:36 GMT
LILONGWE (Reuters) – Malawi’s High Court has delayed its final ruling on whether U.S. pop diva Madonna may adopt a two-year-old Malawian boy until next week, her lawyer said on Thursday.
“We are finished with the proceedings today from our side, and the judge has decided to reserve his ruling on the case until next week because he has to review the recommendations from the Malawi Human Rights Commission on the adoption laws of Malawi,” Alan Chinula said.
The Human Rights Commission is set up by the government. Its position on the adoption of toddler David Banda has not been made public. An exact date for next week’s ruling was not announced.
The adoption has been controversial, with critics accusing the government of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children in Malawi, which has been ravaged by an AIDS epidemic leaving more than one million orphans.
But Malawi’s government and David’s father — his only surviving parent — had endorsed the adoption, and a local rights group that had opposed the case said earlier this week it was no longer interested in pursuing the case, removing another obstacle.
Madonna could not attend the court session on Thursday because she was too busy with other engagements, her lawyer said earlier this week.
Madonna began adoption proceedings for David in 2006 and the boy has been living with her and her film director husband Guy Ritchie in their London home since then. She took David when he was 13 months old after his father had placed him in an orphanage following the death of his wife.