EU: Autistic teen, 13, kicked off Ryanair flight because staff didn’t think she was flying with family


An autistic teenage girl was kicked off a flight by Ryanair staff thinking she was unaccompanied – despite being with uncles, cousins and her godmother.

Michelle Maddock, 32, said her distraught daughter was left stranded at Faro airport in Portugal after 13-year-old daughter Daisy was taken from family members on a plane.

The horrifying ordeal lasted for hours with horrified mum Michelle, who was at home in the UK unable to comfort her daughter who was due to return to East Midlands Airport on Friday.

The airline apologised for the inconvenience but said the way bookings had been made meant Daisy was travelling home without an accompanying adult.

Under airline rules all children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Michelle Maddock with her two daughters, Daisy, 13, and Poppy, eight

What happend?

Michelle, of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, told Nottinghamshire Live she was angry and upset at how the situation had been handled.

She explained the family holiday to the Algarve had been a celebration for her mum’s 60th birthday.

However Michelle suffered a bleed on the brain shortly before the trip and was unable to travel.

Her eldest daughter, Daisy, 13, still wanted to go and was told by the budget airline to provide a letter of permission and a copy of her mum and dad’s passport.

She flew out with her aunties, uncles, cousins and godmother on Friday, August 10, and there were no problems reported.

But on her return to East Midlands Airport from Faro on Friday (August 17) she went through a horrifying ordeal – which left her stranded for hours.

  • Rats rats rats

Fighting back tears, her mum said: “My daughter Daisy boarded the flight with the rest of my family with no problem until 10 minutes before the flight was due to take off.

“A lady working for Ryanair came up to my daughter and told her they believed she had gotten on the plane without an adult and she must get off the plane – but an adult has to go with her.

“After my family members explained the situation – showing them the documents I was told to send – she came back with a security guard who forced my daughter off the plane.

“My 13-year-old is autistic and was absolutely hysterical. Her 70-year-old godmother was made to leave the plane with her. My daughter was absolutely terrified and is now stranded at Faro airport. I have tried for two hours to get hold of Ryanair with no luck.

“I am really angry and upset. I want to comfort my daughter and I can’t. It does not make any sense.

“I would understand going out of this country but they won’t let her go back to her own country.”

A Ryanair flight landing at East Midlands (Image: Rui Vieira/PA Wire)

What did Ryanair say?

A spokesman for Ryanair said: “Children under-16 years of age are not permitted to travel unaccompanied. In this instance, the child was booked on two separate bookings for the outbound and return flights.

“While we regret any inconvenience, as no other adult was travelling on the return booking, she could not travel on the flight.

“As a gesture of goodwill, the child and an accompanying adult were moved on to another booking on the next available flight, which departed to East Midlands later that day.”

Travelling abroad with children – what you need to know

According to the Home office, if you are travelling with a child aged under 18 years and are either not the child’s parent or you don’t appear to be the parent (for example, if you have a different surname), staff may ask a few questions to establish your relationship.

Carrying evidence of this relationship or documents explaining the reason for travelling isn’t compulsory.

However, it can speed up the process.

Evidence can come in many forms, they say, and these range from a copy of a birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship with the child.

Other forms can include divorce or marriage certificates if you are the parent but have a different surname.

Alternatively, you can use a letter from one or both of the child’s parents, with contact details, giving consent for the child to travel with you.

Taking a child abroad without permission is child abduction.

You’ll need to apply to a court for permission to take a child abroad if you haven’t got permission from the other people with parental responsibility.

You must give details of the trip, eg the date of departure, when and how you’re returning, and contact details of people with parental responsibility staying in the UK.

You must give more information if you’re taking the child abroad for a longer trip, eg what education the child will get while they’re abroad.

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Belgium: New passenger checks catch 834 wanted criminals


New passenger checks catch 834 wanted criminals

“…and 18 victims of parental abduction.”

A new system of screening airline passengers flying out of Belgium has netted 834 wanted criminals since it was introduced in April, according to the federal home affairs ministry.
The new law requires airlines communicate the personal details of all passengers to the ministry, which then refers to police databases, to determine if any of the people concerned are wanted, or in other cases are forbidden from leaving the country – if serving parole, for example.

The Passenger Information Unit (as it is called, in English) has called in airport police in 10% of cases, leading to the discovery of more than 800 cases – among them eight drugs dealers and 18 victims of parental abduction. Others were suspected of theft, tech crimes and links to terrorism.

The Unit is made up of police, state security, military intelligence and customs officers. Background checks are made without the suspect’s knowledge, based on the information they provide to the airline. Police become involved when the suspect presents at the airport – not necessarily always at the same stage of the procedure.

A spokesperson for the home affairs minister said the new system has turned out to be “a major success story in the fight against crime and terrorism”.

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USA: Judge in accused kidnapper’s trial removed from all criminal cases


URBANA — A federal judge involved in one of the area’s highest-profile criminal cases has been removed from hearing it, as well as other criminal cases involving the U.S.Bruce removed criminal cases.jpgAttorney’s Office.

U.S. District Court Judge James Shadid, chief judge for the Central District of Illinois, on Friday reassigned the Brendt Christensen kidnapping-resulting-in-death case to himself and removed Judge Colin Bruce from it.

Shadid, who sits in Peoria, further temporarily barred Bruce, who sits in Urbana, from hearing any cases involving prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where Bruce worked for 25 years.

The number is probably in the neighborhood of 50 and includes such cases as drugs, domestic terrorism, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, child pornography, robbery and kidnapping, to name a few.

Sharon Paul, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District, declined to comment.

The Illinois Times reported Friday that Bruce’s removal from hearing criminal cases apparently stemmed from an email exchange Bruce had with a former co-worker in the U.S. Attorney’s Office that happened during a 2016 trial involving an Urbana woman convicted of international parental kidnapping.

There was no answer at Bruce’s Urbana office late Friday afternoon and no response to an email seeking comment.

An order Bruce entered Thursday in the 2015 kidnapping case against Sarah Nixon confirmed that he was recusing himself “in an abundance of caution” over what he termed an “innocuous” and “private email conversation with someone entirely uninvolved in this case.”

Nixon, who was sentenced to 26 months in prison in May 2017, is seeking a new trial.

“In fact, the record indicates there was no contact concerning the email between my former paralegal in Springfield and any member of the prosecution in Urbana,” Bruce wrote in his recusal order.

The exchange was between Bruce, in Urbana, and his former paralegal, Lisa Hopps, in Springfield, during which he explained to her why he wasn’t at the retirement party for U.S. Attorney James Lewis, Bruce’s former boss in the Springfield office.

The Illinois Times reported that the email exchange contained comments from Bruce in which he reportedly critiqued, in a somewhat disparaging manner, the performance of federal prosecutors while the trial was in progress.

Bruce has presided over Christensen’s case since Christensen was charged in July 2017 with allegedly kidnapping visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang. The charge was later amended to kidnapping resulting in death even though Miss Zhang’s body has never been found.

Bruce has made multiple substantive rulings in the death-penalty case, meaning reassignment to another judge could delay the start even beyond April 2019. Bruce also has been hearing the fraud case of former Peoria Congressman Aaron Schock.

He has been on the bench since October 2013, replacing Judge Michael McCuskey, who retired.

A career prosecutor, Bruce served as the first assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District from 2010 to 2014, overseeing a staff of about 40 prosecutors in Urbana, Springfield, Peoria and Rock Island.

In an interview in December with The News-Gazette, Bruce said he has between 350 and 400 cases assigned to him. Not all of those are criminal cases, so he will still be able to hear others.

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UK/Czech Rep: ‘My ex secretly took our child out of the country’


Tracy hugs her daughter

A mother from Yorkshire has spent 18 months fighting for access to her daughter, who was taken abroad by her ex. Custody battles are always stressful and dealing with foreign courts and lawyers adds extra complications, expense and delays. But as more people take advantage of Europe’s freedom of movement stories like this are becoming more common.

“He didn’t tell me what he was planning,” says Tracy. “He said he was taking her for an overnight stay at his temporary accommodation in Bradford. Looking back, I remember her saying that she didn’t want to go, but I didn’t think anything was wrong. I wanted him to have this contact.

Something was wrong, though, as Tracy soon found out.

“The next morning he called me. He was clearly upset and he told me that they were back in the Czech Republic. I just went into shock. It was the worst moment of my life. I called the police and they spoke to him, but under the international treaty they said there was nothing they could do, even though he’d taken her there without me knowing anything about it.”

Tracy had met her Czech-born partner while he was working in Bradford in 2005 and had given birth to their daughter three years later. When the partner was made redundant the couple decided to move to his village in the Czech Republic where they lived with his parents. But at some point their relationship broke down.

In 2016, with Tracy’s mother’s health deteriorating, they moved back to the UK with their daughter, who was then seven. Even though they were not together as a couple, they could both love and care for her.

But when they got back to Bradford, Tracy’s ex had a disagreement with her mother, and he was asked to leave.

Her former partner, who did not want to be named, says that he had never intended the 2016 move back to the UK to be permanent – he only agreed because Tracy’s mother was ill. When he realised that he was not welcome at the family home he started considering his options.

“I was thinking what to do,” he says. “I wasn’t even allowed to be in the house for my daughter’s birthday. I walked away and I felt miserable. I was crying like a small kid. That was the breaking point when I said ‘No’. Maybe it could have been different if they had proceeded more carefully, Tracy and her mother, if they were not so heavy-handed.

“Maybe I would have stayed and found myself a flat. Maybe I would have endured it. I will be honest with you, now I have a huge aversion towards England. I see English football and I switch to another channel.”

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India: Still Open To Signing The Hague Treaty On Child Abduction: Maneka Gandhi


The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty that seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their return.

Still Open To Signing The Hague Treaty On Child Abduction: Maneka Gandhi

Maneka Gandhi said that the decision on the Hague treaty will be taken in due time

NEW DELHI: 

Union minister Maneka Gandhi said the option of signing the Hague Convention on inter-country abduction of children by parents was still open, and a mediation cell will be constituted to resolve such cases till a decision was taken on signing the convention.

The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty that seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their return.

India is not a signatory to the convention. The government had been of the view that the treaty could lead to harassment of women escaping marital discord or domestic violence.

The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry has directed the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to constitute a mediation cell to resolve the cases of children taken away by one of the spouses without the permission of the other parent due to marital discord or domestic violence, from overseas to India or vice versa.

The commission has also been asked to prepare a parental plan, taking into account the best interest of the child, a statement by the ministry said.

In the statement, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi also mentioned that the issue of signing the Hague Convention was still open and a decision on it would be taken in due course.

“Till then, the mediation process as notified by the WCD Ministry, should take care of most of the representations received by the ministry. The speaking order of the INA (Integrated Nodal Agency) will be extremely useful for both the parents to get the legal cases resolved or closed,” she said.

The mediation cell will have a chairperson and members of NCPCR in fields of laws relating to children and those relating to child psychology-sociology, the statement said.

The cell will develop a parental plan keeping in view the interest of the child and submit its report to the INA. Based on the report of the agency and any other inputs that the INA may seek from the applicants or from Home Ministry or External Affairs Ministry, it will pass a speaking order in the matter, it said.

Maneka Gandhi said the purpose of the procedure was primarily to bring all the facts of the case, including the legal proceeding, make an overall assessment of the situation and suggest a parental plan in the best interests of the child.

Currently, there is no specific Indian legislation addressing issues related to abduction of children from and into India.

The decision to form the cell was taken after the ministry received a large number of complaints from such parents, the statement said.

Most of these complaints are from women who have had to escape from foreign countries along with their children to come to the safety of their own families residing in India.

Their husbands file criminal cases of abduction of the children in the country where they are residing, which go uncontested as the women in India are unable to present their cases, it said.

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USA: Fair Play police chief finds missing children during traffic stop


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FAIR PLAY, Mo A routine traffic stop in Fair Play quickly turned into much more when three missing children were spotted in the back seat.

They had been missing since March.

Chief Ed Morrison was patrolling town last weekend when he passed a vehicle that didn’t have a license plate, and pulled it over.

Morrison radioed dispatch with the information on the woman driving and they radioed back with some shocking news.

“Her and her boyfriend were persons of interest in a case with three missing juveniles. And I told dispatch well there is three juveniles in the back seat of this car.” said Chief Ed Morrison, with the Fair Play police department.

36 year old Valerie Scott had a warrant out of Montana for parental kidnapping after she skipped a court appearance for a parenting plan and took off with the kids.

She was down in the area to visit her father and was unaware of the warrant out for her arrest.

“I actually didn’t do anything that any other deputy or officer wouldn’t have done. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. If she would have had a valid temp tag my PC for the stop would have been gone, I wouldn’t have even have ran her.” said Morrison.

Morrison says in a small town stuff like this doesn’t happen often so helping those kids felt good.

“You have that sense of satisfaction that you have done your job.” said Morrison. “I just did my job and by doing that it worked out the way it should have worked out.”

And his most unique traffic stop of his 18 year career was just days before his retirement.

“For me it is a good way to go out.” said Morrison. “It feels good to end it that way, but I hate to end it.”

He is set to retire on Wednesday, his 74th birthday.

The kids were returned to their father.

And Scott is being held in the Polk County jail on a 25 thousand dollar bond.

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USA/Algeria: Federal kidnapping charge filed against French national for fleeing US with infant child in Boston custody dispute


BOSTON –  The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed federal kidnapping charges against a French national who last month defied a judge’s orders and fled the country with his 3-year-old child without the mother’s permission.

Malik Benhamza, 33, who had been living in East Boston, is believed to be in Algiers, Algeria. Neither he nor the child have been seen or heard from since July 1.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Monday filed a criminal complaint that charges him with a single count of international parental kidnapping. He is now considered an international fugitive.

The United States has no extradition treaty with Algeria, a country in northern Africa bordering on the Mediterranean Sea.

According to prosecutors, the child’s mother, Jerusha Hall, in February was granted sole legal custody of the child by Essex County Family Court. Benhamza was granted visitation rights but only on specific days and times.

The family court judge also ordered that neither parent could travel outside Massachusetts with the child without written consent of the other parent.

On July 1, Benhamza did not return the child following a scheduled visit. Hall contacted law enforcement when the child was not returned, and officials tracked him by cell phone records to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. A review of flight records showed that he and the child had departed on a Royal Air Moroc flight to Algiers where they disembarked.

If he is apprehended, Benhamza faces a penalty of up to three years in prison for international parental kidnapping.

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