SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Thousands of Puerto Ricans are demanding justice for a university professor arrested after refusing to return her toddler to her ex-husband in the mainland U.S. under a court-ordered agreement.
The custody battle has led supporters to organize a protest Sunday at a woman's jail along the island's north coast, where Maha Abdel Rahim is being held until a Jan. 17 extradition hearing.
More than 5,000 people have joined several Facebook pages demanding that Rahim be released and be given custody of her 4-year-old son, Kamal. More than 3,000 people also signed a petition addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. senators and representatives asking that a California court award custody to Rahim.
Police arrested Rahim Thursday in San Juan after she did not turn over the boy to his father, who lives in California.
"I have no right to anything, as usual," she calmly told reporters as she was escorted to jail. "My only worry is Kamal ... He's in danger. Sometimes you can't talk about everything publicly."
Puerto Rico police were acting on a court order issued by authorities in California, where a judge had awarded primary physical custody to Kamal's father. The details of the judge's order were not immediately available, but Rahim has said the judge believes the U.S. territory is too violent and does not have an adequate education or health care system.