Malta: New measures to protect children of international parents from being abducted – Zammit Dimech


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Stepping up measures to protect children of international parents from being abducted is fundamental especially in a scenario where this type of family is on the rise, Nationalist MEP Francis Zammit Dimech said.

Protecting children from possible harm has always been one of our intrinsic values as Europeans, he added when speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg during a debate on matrimonial matters and international child abduction.

Zammit Dimech remarked that the need to strengthen legislation in this regard also results from a case in Malta whereby a child of an international family was abducted by one of the parents who attempted to take the child out of Europe. Zammit Dimech explained that although the child was returned to Malta, the process was not plain sailing as at first the decision of the Maltese courts on jurisdiction with regard to the child was not recognised by the courts of another Member State. Zammit Dimech said that these are real stories as abduction is in several cases conducted by parents passing through separation or divorce and not just by strangers. He added that this was a clear example of how Europe could make a difference in the life of citizens including children and righteous parents and uphold human rights.

Zammit Dimech who is a member of European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs hailed new measures in the recast regulation that will make the return of abducted children more efficient, the introduction of stipulated timeframes to avoid excessive delays in the return of the child, the introduction of mediation to facilitate possibility of reaching an amicable agreement, further training for those involved in such cases, as well as the obligation of Member States to provide adequate human and financial resources to responsible national authorities and the obligation to hear the child.

Zammit Dimech concluded by welcoming initiatives of non-profit organisations such as Amber Alert whereby children abducted are searched with the help of the public and expressed satisfaction that Malta had also joined the platform. He concluded by emphasising that in such cases, the most important principal remains that of safeguarding the interests of children.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from Malta feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

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Vietnam plans to join The Hague Convention


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VN prepares to join Hague Convention 1980

The PM has approved the preparation plan for joining the Hague Convention 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in the 2018-2021 period. 

Accordingly, from 2018-2020, the Ministry of Justice will review and evaluate the suitability between regulations of the Convention and Viet Nam’s laws, thus amending, supplementing and issuing new relevant legal documents and review regulations of the Convention with related international treaties Viet Nam has joined as a member.

The ministry will set up documents introducing the Convention and introduce the Convention to relevant objects, train and improve capacity of staffs and agencies in charge of the Convention.

By 2021, the ministry summits to the Government on the participation of the Convention.

The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty, which seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to Vietnam feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

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USA / Turkey: Woman With Kentucky Ties Fighting For Return Of Daughter In International Custody Dispute


PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (EKB) – An indictment against a Perry County father unsealed for the first time this week, shows a two-year long battle in which a man is accused of taking his daughter to Turkey without her mother’s consent.

East Kentucky Broadcasting reports that a charge of international parental kidnapping has been filed against Michael Gregory McCoy.

McCoy is accused of keeping his daughter in Turkey for over two years, in order to keep the child from her mother, Melinda Riddle McCoy. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of over three years.

Melinda McCoy, who is originally from Hazard, lives in New York now and has started an online battle for her daughter’s return.

“On September 1, 2015, my daughter’s father took her out of the US without my permission or knowledge. I only became aware after they were long gone. Even after asking his immediate family members, I could not get an exact date of leaving even though they dropped them at the airport. I was only told they were on vacation in the Mediterranean and they did not know his plans or whereabouts but they were sure Emma and her father would return in October,” writes Melinda.

Prosecutors have asked for certified copies of the arrest warrant to be used in extradition proceedings. Melinda McCoy was also granted a full emergency custody order.

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to Turkey feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

USA: Man Sentenced To 21 Months In Prison For Kidnapping His Children To Saudi Arabia


Parental Child Abduction Kidnapping
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York (“FBI”), announced that FAYCAL TAHIRI was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in prison for international parental kidnapping.  TAHIRI pled guilty on July 17, 2017, before Chief U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon, who imposed yesterday’s sentence.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “Faycal Tahiri, a naturalized U.S. citizen and practicing doctor, kidnapped his own children in order to keep them from their mother.  For more than two years, in defiance of court orders from both U.S. and Moroccan courts, he moved from country to country to prevent his young sons from seeing their mother.  We are committed to prosecuting all those who, like Tahiri, unlawfully interfere with a parent’s right to be with her child.”

According to the Superseding Indictment filed against TAHIRI, other court documents publicly filed in this case, and statements made in court proceedings, including yesterday’s sentencing:

Between June 2010 and November 2015, TAHIRI kept his two American-born sons outside of the United States and away from their mother, moving between Morocco, Europe, and Saudi Arabia.  TAHIRI kidnapped his children to Saudi Arabia in December 2012, and lied to the children’s mother, the FBI, the Moroccan authorities, and an American court about the children’s whereabouts.  TAHIRI kept his children out of contact with their mother for approximately two years, and the children were located and returned to the United States thanks to the efforts of their mother and the FBI.  The two boys were eight and ten years old when they reunited with their mother.

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In addition to the prison term, TAHIRI, 42, of Bay Shore, New York, was sentenced to one year of supervised release.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, and expressed gratitude for the efforts of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Catherine Geddes and Danielle R. Sassoon are in charge of the prosecution.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to Saudi Arabia feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

USA: THE ONGOING TRAGEDY OF INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION


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Each year, between 600 and 800 American children are taken from the United States by one parent without the consent of the other.

The parent left behind can only wonder if the children are safe, warm, well-fed, and loved, and what – if anything – their precious children are being told about them.  Many children are intentionally misled by the taking parent to hate and distrust the left-behind parent.

Abducted children also suffer tremendously from the abduction and the subsequent loss of contact with the left-behind parent.  Research shows that abducted children who are recovered often experience a range of serious short- and long-term emotional and psychological problems, including anxiety, eating disorders, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, resentment, guilt, and fearfulness.

In 1988, the United States became a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which seeks to deter parents from putting their children through the trauma of an international abduction by—absent a grave threat to a child’s well-being—returning abducted children back to their home country and home courts to determine the best interests of the child.

The Convention affirms that if a custody decision has already been made, it should not be re-litigated thousands of miles away in a foreign court. If a custody decision needs to be made, the courts in the home country are the courts with the best access to school records, police reports, neighbors, teachers, friends, and many other resources to help determine the child’s best interest.  The Convention also protects an abducted child’s relationship with the left-behind parent, requiring that a child should have access to the parent for the duration of court proceedings for return, and should have access to the parent even if the return is denied. Seven of eleven Partners for Cooperation, including Japan, are party to the Hague Convention, as are fifty-one of fifty-seven participating States, including Slovakia.

However, as the Cook and Frisancho families know all too well, securing implementation of the Convention can be a financially and emotionally draining nightmare.

Japan

James Cook learned just weeks ago that Japan has again failed to return his four children to him.  He has been kept from contact with them for more than three years in a family vacation-turned-abduction case.

More than two years ago, Japan’s high court ordered Cook’s ex-wife to return the children to their father in the U.S., per the Hague Convention. However, despite the court ruling, Japanese authorities failed to enforce the return decision for a year.  As a result, Mr. Cook spent thousands of dollars on legal fees and travel to Japan to fight for his children.  When the financial burden forced Mr. Cook to move to an apartment, Japanese courts revoked the return because they did not consider an apartment a “stable home”—a conclusion that would surprise the millions of families in Japan and the U.S. who live happily in apartments.

That conclusion also would surprise the writers of the Convention, who provided as an exception to return “grave threats that would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation”—situations that would include war, famine, a disease epidemic, or very serious abuse or neglect of the child from which the home country could not protect the child.

“Japan’s own Hague courts twice ordered return of my children, but Japan ignored the orders until they could find a way to revoke them,” said Mr. Cook. “I followed the rules, respected the process, and trusted in the Convention—but Japan remains the ‘black hole’ of child abduction.”

Slovakia

Dr. Augusto Frisancho knows all too well the heartache of winning in court, only to have enforcement of a judgment delayed until it is eventually reversed.  Dr. Frisancho, a medical doctor at the Johns Hopkins University, has not seen or even been allowed to speak to his three sons after their mother abducted them to Slovakia seven years ago.

Like Mr. Cook, Dr. Frisancho opted to use the Hague Convention rather than seek the criminal prosecution of his estranged spouse in the United States or Slovakia for kidnapping.  The Slovak courts ordered that his children be returned to the United States to resolve any custody questions.  Although the court order returning custody to Dr. Frisancho was—according to standard procedural rules governing such legal actions—final, a year later the decision was reversed in a closed-door proceeding from which Dr. Frisancho was excluded.

Dr. Frisancho took his case to the European Court of Human Rights, which found unanimously that his rights had been violated by Slovakia.  Slovakia paid the court-imposed damage award and changed its laws on closed proceedings and appeals in abduction cases.

However, seven years after the abduction, Dr. Frisancho still has no access to his children, much less custody.  He has not even been given a photo of his children and relies on age-enhanced images from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children to see a glimpse of what his children may look like today.

When Slovakia ordered Dr. Frisancho’s estranged wife to bring the children to court to verify their well-being with a psychologist, she refused.  When Slovakia ordered her not to remove the children from Slovakia, she moved the children across the border into Hungary.

Although the children regularly visit their grandparents in Slovakia and Dr. Frisancho’s estranged wife works in Slovakia, Slovakia has not enforced the court orders or ruled on Dr. Frisancho’s petition to finish the case.

Were Slovakia to finish the case, Dr. Frisancho could enforce the ruling in Hungary using the Brussels II Regulation.  As it is, Dr. Frisancho is facing the fact that he may have to translate thousands of pages of Slovakian court proceedings into Hungarian and restart his case in Hungary—losing more precious time with his children.

“I want to see my children.  I want my children to know they have a father who loves them dearly and who prays every night that somehow this wrong to them will be righted,” said Dr. Frisancho.  “Despite every opportunity over 7 years, Slovakia has inexplicably failed to meet the two main goals of the Hague Convention—return and access.”

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to Japan or Slovakia feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

UK: Woman who made a series of unfounded sex abuse allegations about her ex-partner is now barred from seeing her four-year-old daughter


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  • Woman who accused her ex of abusing their daughter is barred from seeing her
  • A High Court judge concluded the woman caused ‘significant harm’ to the girl
  • Ms Justice Russell said the woman had made ‘persistent and unsubstantiated’ allegations about the youngster being sexually abused by her father 
  • Child forced to undergo repeated intimate examinations because of the claims

    A woman who made a series of unfounded sex abuse allegations about her ex-partner has been barred from seeing their four-year-old daughter.

    A High Court judge made the ruling after she concluded that the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had caused ‘significant harm’ to the little girl.

    Ms Justice Russell said the woman had made ‘persistent and unsubstantiated’ allegations about the youngster being sexually abused by her father.

    The judge said the little girl had been ‘repeatedly subjected to intimate examinations, solely at the behest of her mother’ and been prevented from having an ‘uninhibited relationship’ with her father.

    She said the youngster’s early years had been blighted by her mother’s ‘irrational’ behaviour.

    Ms Justice Russell had analysed the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London in November and has revealed her decision in a written ruling published on a website.

    The judge said the family involved could not be identified.

    She indicated that a nanny had helped care for the girl and that the woman had a link to Israel.

    The little girl had lived with her mother after her parents separated.

    Two years ago, after sex abuse allegations were ruled to be unfounded, another judge had decided that the youngster should move to live with her father.

    Arguments about what contact the woman should have with the child had subsequently begun.

    Earlier this year a family court judge had decided that the woman should be able to see her daughter.

    But the man had mounted a High Court appeal and Ms Justice Russell upheld his challenge.

    ‘When viewed as a whole the harm caused to this child by her mother was significant,’ said Ms Justice Russell.

    ‘Not only was she found to have repeatedly subjected to intimate examinations, solely at the behest of her mother, she was prevented from having uninhibited relationship with her father as an infant.

    ‘On any view, the repeated invasive intimate examinations … were in themselves abusive.’

    She added: ‘(The little girl) is a young and vulnerable child whose first few years of life were blighted by her mother’s irrational, abusive and harmful behaviour.

    ‘The courts can and should consider ordering no contact when the child’s welfare and safety demand it.’

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from the UK feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

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India: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on U.S. Child Abduction


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The Indian Supreme Court agreed to hear a case on parental child abduction, brought about by several Indian American parents and supported by the U.S.-based non-profit organization Bring Our Kids Home.

Bring Our Kids Home has filed a petition with the court, urging it to create legal guidelines by which to adjudicate international parental child abduction cases.

India has the second highest number of pending child abduction cases from the U.S. and has been cited by the U.S. Department of State for non-cooperation in resolving pending cases since 2015, noted the organization in a social media statement.

The U.S. State Department issued a report noting that 1,000 American children are annually removed from their homes and moved across international borders; less than half are ever returned home.

India is the number one country for parental international child abductions, according to the State Department. From 2010 to 2014, 173 cases were registered; only 22 cases have been resolved, with the abducted child returning home (see earlier story).

“We hope to seek effective legal remedies in India, to help all victims of international parental child abduction and reunite all abducted children from around the world wrongfully retained in India,” stated BOKH.

Parental child abduction is a form of child abuse, violates the rights of victimized children and the parent who is left behind, in violation of U.S. and international law, noted the organization.

The Indian Supreme Court Dec. 1 asked the government of India to explain its stand on the issue.

Four co-litigants were named in the petition: Ruchika Abbi, a Virginia based mother whose daughter was allegedly abducted to India by her father in 2014; Siminder Kaur, a Tennessee-based mother of a child who was allegedly wrongfully retained in India but was reunited with her three-year-old son this year; Nihar Panda, a California-based father whose daughter reportedly was abducted to India by her mother in 2013; and Vikram Jagtiani, co-founder of Bring Our Kids Home, a New York-based father whose daughter was allegedly abducted to India in 2014 by her mother; Jagtiani has had no contact with his daughter for several months.

The organization noted that arbitrary standards are applied by courts in India with regards to international child abduction cases, making the country a “safe haven” for abductors from throughout the world.

“Children abducted to India are often retained with expired passports and/or fraudulently acquired Indian visas. Indian authorities are unresponsive,” noted Panda, adding that India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Women and Child Development or the Ministry of Home Affairs provide no mechanism where child abduction cases can be registered within India, nor is there an administrative body or process to assist in child recovery.

Kaur noted that the vast majority of children abducted to India are Indian American U.S. citizens.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from India feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

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