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Court lets mom Madonna adopt second Malawi child

Court lets mom Madonna adopt second Malawi child

The Singer is genuinely interested in helping orphans, says judge.

Blantyre: Malawi's Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court and allowed US pop star Madonna to adopt a second child from the country in a case that has been criticised by local rights groups.

Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo said Madonna had shown an interest in helping Malawi orphans and that four-year-old Mercy James would have a better life with the star. He said a lower court had erred in turning down the adoption request because Madonna was not a resident in Malawi.

"We find the judge in the lower court to have dwelled so much on media reports on the issue of residence and to us this was not evidence enough to deny Madonna a chance to adopt Mercy James. We therefore grant Madonna the adoption order," Munlo said.

Madonna's lawyer said the singer welcomed the ruling. "I've just talked to Madonna and she's very excited about this news," said lawyer Alan Chinula.

Malawi's government came under fire after Madonna adopted a 13-month-old child, David Banda, in 2006, with critics accusing it of giving her special treatment by skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children. Rights groups accused the government of giving Madonna, a US citizen, special treatment.

The government had supported Madonna's attempt to adopt Mercy, saying she was a worthy mother. An AIDS epidemic in the southern African country has orphaned more than one-million children and Madonna has set up a charity for Malawian children.

In her ruling in April, High Court judge Esimie Chombo warned against celebrity adoptions, saying they could lead to child trafficking. Madonna has entertained millions around the world with hits like Material Girl and Papa Don't Preach creating a fair amount of controversy along the way.

The star, who was divorced in 2008 from British film director Guy Ritchie, is one of the music industry's most successful singers, with album sales of more than 200 million.
first published:June 12, 2009, 15:38 IST