April 22, 2008 / 12:12 AM / 10 years ago

Court grants Madonna adoption case delay

LILONGWE (Reuters) - Malawi’s High Court has agreed to delay a hearing to finalize pop star Madonna’s adoption of a boy from the southern African nation until May 15, a senior court official said on Monday.

Madonna carries her adopted son David at the Home of Hope orphanage in Mchinji village,135 km (84 miles) west of the Malawi capital Lilongwe April 17,2007. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Madonna had asked the court to postpone the hearing from April 22 because she had to travel to the United States on business, a lawyer close to the case had said on Saturday.

“I believe May 15 should be the final date for the hearing unless her lawyers ask for another date and put up reasonable arguments for that,” the High Court official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Madonna’s attorney Alan Chinula declined to comment.

Malawi’s government recommended earlier this month that the court approve the adoption of two-year-old David Banda.

The pop diva met the boy in an orphanage in 2006 and began adoption proceedings soon afterwards. He has been living with Madonna and her film director husband Guy Ritchie in London since shortly after the adoption process began.

The adoption has been controversial, with critics accusing the government of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children in Malawi, one of the countries in Africa hardest hit by AIDS.

The epidemic has left an estimated one million orphans in the country.

Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by Caroline Drees and Chloe Fussell

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