Foreign Wives Have No Inheritance Rights in Libya, Part I of II
Cupidity Suffered by Foreign Wives Married to Libyans Relating to Inheritance Rights
In the past I’ve had a few guest posts. Today is another guest, a very dear friend of mine with an important message to the foreign wives of Libyans and also to any Libyans facing issues of inheritance and property rights. She asks that you read her message and pass it on to others in the hopes that her situation will change and other wives of Libyans will not suffer the same fate that she is. Below is her post and includes a video made by her husband. The video is partly in English and partly in Arabic, with an English translation below.
I am Susan Sandover married into the Libyan family Shkuka. My husband and I had been married 33 years and had lived a loving, happy life together. We were a real team. Last September my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer and in March had pneumonia. At that time we made a video asking his family to please allow me to inherit his property.
The response of Shkuka and Yusief family was to try and invoke sharia law even though Bashir was still alive. They used delaying tactics in the hope that he would die before matters were resolved through the courts. They want to live off the proceeds of our honest hard work without having to lift a finger themselves. They refused to talk to him despite his last text to Lamin, one of his brothers, ‘I hope you will speak to me soon’. It was sent just two days before he died.
Bashir died on the 2nd July very suddenly. He wanted to sell his property so that we could buy a small flat in London and live simply for the remainder of his short life. Both of us have always worked excessively hard and I am known in Libya for my efforts in the area of teaching and developing English. I think I deserve to retire at 65 years. Added to which I paid from my grandfather and father’s inheritance for all of our property in Libya.
Shkuka and Yusief family, by denying my husband his rights have given me no choice but that I shall have to continue working and will have no place of my own in which to live.
For those unaware London property prices are some of the highest in the world. I am a Londoner born and bred and I want to be surrounded by my family and friends.
Some time ago, I sold my flat in Hampstead, London in order to buy a house in Libya. Currently a small one bedroom flat outside the centre of London is at least over a quarter of a million pounds. Without the monies from Libya I will be destitute and homeless. I cannot understand how brothers and sisters can be so greedy and lacking in compassion to my husband’s wishes and desires. I would beg you to talk to all of your friends and contacts and forward this message on your Facebook, tweets and blogs in order to shame this family Mohamed SHKUKA/Shaban/Yusief to have mercy to my situation and to Bashir’s wishes.
I write this additionally and importantly to warn other women married to Libyans to make you aware of your lack of inheritance rights and ownership of property in Libya. No one should have to suffer the cruelty, lack of compassion and greed that my husband suffered whilst battling cancer – he died with a deeply saddened heart. Obviously the family SHKUKA/YUSIEF believe they are above God’s justice.
Foreign wives married to Libyans: this too could be your fate! Until now despite the best efforts of many of us you are not entitled to own property in Libya even if you financed the purchase. If your husband dies prior to you and you have no children then you will be entitled to a quarter of his property and if you have children 1/8th. Since this dreadful event has happened to me I am hearing almost daily of Libyan families who have stolen their siblings’ property on the death of a brother or sister, not to mention story after story of foreign wives’ demise.
If you are a foreign wife you need to protect yourself at least a little now by:
- Opening a bank account in your name,
- Have a power of attorney for your husband or else his relatives will be the executors of his property not you.
- Know a good lawyer who will be able to help you.
- Set aside savings in your name abroad.
- You must be registered with your embassy.
As we are all too well aware as foreign wives we have no rights and have to rely on the goodwill of our Libyan family under current Libyan law. You are probably saying ‘but this could never happen to me’. My husband believed in his family all of these years and what a fatal error this has been.
Pass the dangers written in this article on to others and protect yourselves as best you can under the present circumstances. Things do change with lobbying, but it takes time for right over wrong to be acknowledged and rectified.
Here is a translation of the main Arabic portion of my husband’s video message:
May the blessings of God be upon you and all the members of our family. Ibrahim, Ismael, Mahmoud, Lamin and Khadija I appreciate your desire to show compassion to my wife and to fulfill your obligations to her. However, if you look into your hearts perhaps you will find that God’s will is that she should live in familiar surroundings in London where her brothers and cousins reside. She sold her properties in London to enable us to live in Libya. Justice would allow that we sell our properties in Tripoli and the funds to be transferred to our account in London to allow us and when it is God’s will her to live in London after my death..
An update to this post can be found here: A Very Important Update