March 30, 2009 / 7:11 AM / 9 years ago

Madonna appears in Malawi court in adoption bid

LILONGWE (Reuters) - A court in Malawi is expected to rule on Friday whether U.S. pop singer Madonna can adopt a second child from the southern African country, a move likely to be opposed by human rights groups.

Members of the media chase after a convoy of vehicles carrying Madonna as she leaves the high court in Lilongwe March 30, 2009. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna

Madonna appeared in court on Monday seeking to adopt four-year-old Mercy James. The case was adjourned until April 3.

Critics had accused authorities of giving one of the world’s most successful singers special treatment when she adopted her Malawian son David Banda. Malawi civil society groups say they plan to oppose Mercy’s adoption.

Madonna, in a black dress and sunglasses, did not speak to reporters after the High Court case was adjourned.

“It has been adjourned to Friday, April 3 for the judge to make her ruling,” court registrar Thomson Ligowe told Reuters.

One of Madonna’s lawyers said outside the court that she was asking the court to grant her an interim adoption of about 18 months.

Madonna has captivated millions around the world with sexy, high-energy performances and songs like “Material Girl,” “Like a Virgin” and “Papa Don’t Preach.”

The local Nation newspaper has quoted Madonna, 50, as saying Malawian friends had told her David needed a brother or sister.

“We are surprised at what’s going on,” leading Malawian human rights activist Mavuto Bamusi told Reuters.

“We are contemplating challenging this adoption.”

Madonna, who began adoption proceedings in 2006, took David when he was 13 months old after his father had placed him in an orphanage following the death of his wife.

Some Malawians opposed David’s adoption, accusing the government of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children.

The singer has said despite the controversy, she was happy to be involved in a case that might pave the way for more adoptions in Malawi, where an estimated one million children have been orphaned by AIDS.

On Sunday Madonna toured a site where her charity, Raising Malawi, plans to build a multi-million dollar school for girls in Chikhota village, a short distance outside Lilongwe.

Madonna arrives at the high court escorted by her bodyguards in Lilongwe March 30, 2009. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna

Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Giles Elgood

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