Europol : Mexican cartels gain ground in European drug trade

April 14, 2013

Source: LA Times

MEXICO CITY—Mexican drug cartels are striving to become “key players in the European drugs market,”  Europol officials said Friday.


Their statement, issued from Europol headquarters in the Hague, said that Mexican criminals have become “global market coordinators” in trafficking cocaine and synthetic drugs to Europe. Police officials also alleged that Mexicans were moving firearms from southeast Europe and trading them with cocaine dealers in the Americas. They also specifically cited the Zetas cartel–perhaps the most ruthless of the Mexican gangs—for reportedly trafficking human beings “for sexual exploitation” from northeast Europe to Mexico.

Concerns about the presence of Mexican cartels in Europe are not new, but the statement by theEuropean Union’s top crime-fighting agency underscores a growing worry about the Mexican criminal groups’ ambitious plans for global expansion. Fears have spread across the Mexican border to nearby Texas, and as far away as Southeast Africa.

Last month, Texas’ public safety department declared that Mexican cartels were the “the most significant organized crime threat” to the Lone Star State. Along with other criminal groups, the cartels are suspected not only to be deeply involved in the Texas drug trade, but also to be responsible for extortion, kidnappings, public corruption and money laundering, according to the report, an annual threat assessment issued by the agency.

In May, a deputy administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration told a group of U.S. senators that Mexican cartels are involved in the African methamphetamine trade, and have “documented links” to criminal groups in Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We haven’t identified specific cartel activity in Africa,” a DEA official told the Voice of America in June. “We’ve identified Mexicans in Africa, and we know they are affiliated with cartels – we just haven’t put it together.”

The Europol statement said that law enforcement officials had recently “averted” the Sinaloa Cartel’s attempts to set up a major European cocaine wholesaling operation. Thus far, according to the report, few violent incidents in Europe have been attributed to the Mexicans.

“We do not want the level of violence and brutality which we see in Mexico mirrored in Europe,” said Rob Wainwright, the Europol director.

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Parental kidnapping up 50 percent last year

April 13, 2013

Source: The Portugal News

The president of the Portuguese Association for Missing Children (APCD) has revealed that the number of cases of parental kidnapping in Portugal increased last year by 50 percent and described the situation as “worrying” due to a lack of mechanisms that are quick enough to tackle the problem.



Speaking to Lusa News Agency Patrícia Cipriano explained that statistics regarding missing children in Portugal and in Europe are “unreliable and not even close to reality” as figures often include several disappearances of the same child.
Because of this situation the APCD began counting the number of disappearances in Portugal.

“We discovered that, in 2012, there was an increase of around 50 percent in the number of cases, for example, of parental abduction (cases where one parent keeps a child from the other)”, Ms. Cipriano said during the inauguration of the association’s new Lisbon headquarters.

This is a matter that “rather worries” the association, because “Portugal does not have mechanisms that are quick enough to deal with this situation”, she stressed.
“We have very serious situations that have nothing to do with the economic crisis, or with the fact there is a marriage then a divorce between people of different nationalities”,

Patrícia Cipriano explained, adding: “what is happening is that people have a feeling of impunity with regard to this type of behaviour.”
Many times, when a father or a mother wants to hurt the other, they will do so by “using their children as instruments”: “We have witnessed situations that are very problematic and sad” and which have had “very serious” consequences for the child, she recalled.

Portuguese Boy
In some cases children had been ‘missing’ from the age of five until 15, and developed “serious symptoms of being very emotionally affected; they have panic attacks, sleep poorly and wet their beds late on.”
“It is sad, essentially, that there are no authorities in Portugal that clearly understand these phenomena”, the head of the APCD lamented.
She further added that there are situations in which “the courts have come to a complete standstill, they can’t resolve it and they don’t act in the child’s best interest, I don’t know if that is because of a lack of training or in some cases just a lack of common sense.”
The new headquarters aim to serve a region in which a growing number of disappearances is registered year-on-year; Lisbon and Vale do Tejo.
It is also open for members of the public to report cases of children being abused or sexually exploited.
Quoting figures from the GNR police, Patrícia Cipriano recalled that in 2012, 251 children under the age of 18 were reported missing in Lisbon and 114 reports of sexual abuse involving minors under the age of 16 were also taken.
On top of that, every year between 1,500 and 2,000 cases of missing children are investigated by the PJ police.
“Evidently, in many cases these incidents are not real disappearances, but occurrences”, Ms. Cirpriano explained, elaborating that if one child runs away from an institution ten times, that counts as ten separate incidents.

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Abducted to Greece: Mom battles to rescue son held in Greece by father

February 18 2013

Source: usatoday

Father ignores legally binding divorce decree when he doesn’t send son back to U.S. after a 2011 visit.


Alissa Zagaris hopes an international arrest warrant filed against her ex-husband will allow her to get her son Leo, 12, back home from Greece, where he allegedly has been held against his will since August 2011.

INDIANAPOLIS — In June 2011 Alissa Zagaris drove her then-10-year-old son, Leo, from their home in Noblesville, Ind., to Chicago and put him on a plane for Greece — just as she had done four times before.

It was a long-distance visitation arrangement set forth by the couple’s divorce agreement struck in a Hamilton County, Ind., court. Leo would fly over, spend some time with his father, Nikolaos Zagaris, then fly back.

No big deal.

STORY: N.J. father, son adjusting after Brazil abduction drama

STORY: Documentation for traveling in Europe with children

But on this fifth journey, things went wrong when Leo, now 12, did not come home. His father kept him in Greece — despite the legally binding divorce decree that awarded Alissa custody.

Leo soon would become embroiled in a protracted and messy bureaucratic morass that would involve two nations, the FBI, Interpol, the State Department, international treaties, courts on two continents and one angry and heartbroken mom.

Unlike so many other incidents when one parent keeps a child away from the other, this was not a custody case. This was an international abduction. This, authorities ultimately concluded, was kidnapping.


Nevertheless, prodding authorities in Athens, Washington and Indianapolis to take up her case has been a long, frustrating journey for Zagaris. In December, in a Greek court, Zagaris finally got the chance to tell her side of the story — and she was reunited with her son for a brief, supervised visit.

When she saw Leo for the first time in 19 months, all her fears and anxieties — stemming from his recent comments about hating America — melted away.

“My little boy jumped in my arms,” Zagaris said. “He is this tall on me now (holding a hand up to her shoulder) and he lunged at me and held my hand the whole time. “We sat together on the couch and I just rubbed his skin. His skin is fine like mine. I always rub his back. And look into his eyes.”

The Dec. 13, 2012, visit lasted for about 45 tense minutes as Nickolaos and his mother watched.

‘Left behind moms’ unite

Many of the more than 350 or so friends and followers of Zagaris’ two Facebook pages — her personal page and one she set up to publicize her son’s kidnapping — call themselves “left behind moms” or “left behind parents.”

They are the husbands and wives who fight the same battles Zagaris has fought during the past 19 months.

According to the Bring Sean Home Foundation, founded in 2009 as a support group and resource hub, more than 4,700 American children were abducted outside the United States between 2008 and 2010 by a parent or guardian,

Getting them back is rarely quick and never easy. Zagaris found that out in the fall of 2011 when it became clear to her that her ex-husband had no intention of sending Leo home.


She contacted the U.S. State Department, office of Consular Affairs, and reported what had happened. They urged her to file an application with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction — a necessary step in any case that spans international borders.

The Hague Convention, designed to make the process work more smoothly, is contingent on both countries agreeing to its terms — which provide a framework for communicating the facts of a case and agreeing to abide by the laws of both countries.

In other words they need to get along, which can be a sticky situation depending on the state of world affairs.

“Sometimes they cooperate in getting a child back to the country,” said Wendy Osborne, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Indianapolis. “But some countries don’t play by the rules.”

Osborne declined to comment on Zagaris’ case — an agent in Indianapolis is heavily involved and filed the affidavit that led to charges being filed by the U.S. District Court.

But Osborne said the FBI is involved in hundreds of cases like this across the country.

“At one time I was working on six myself, involving Mexico, Syria, other countries, all at the same time,” Osborne said. “And these are very difficult cases because they are so emotional.”

According to the Bring Sean Home Foundation, children abducted abroad are often traumatized, losing contact with a parent and finding themselves in unfamiliar surroundings, forced to live in a country where they may not know the language or the culture.

Leo, does not speak Greek, Zagaris said. And despite assurances that he would be enrolled in an English-speaking school, she suspects that has never happened. Experts also say abducted children are often told lies about the other parent or guardian and the country from which they came.

Love, marriage, violence

A younger “Nick” and Alissa met in 2000 when he was a weekend waiter at a Greek restaurant, and she, a nutritionist and caterer by trade, was a manager. One thing led to another.

“It was mainly a physical relationship,” she said. “I had no intention of getting serious. But then, lo and behold, I’m pregnant.”

Attempts to reach Nickolaos Zagaris through his attorney for this story were unsuccessful.

Alissa said Nickolaos, a Greek citizen, was looking for a way to stay in America. He had come to the U.S. on a student visa and studied at the University of Indianapolis. But that visa had expired.

Not long after their wedding in July 2000, Leo was born. Zagaris said things changed once the pressures of parental responsibility set in.

“Nick changed,” she said. “Before that it was just me and him. The day Leo was born, everything changed.” As the baby grew, Zagaris said, Nick grew physically abusive toward her. In 2008, Nick was arrested and charged in Hamilton County with domestic battery and felony strangulation. Before he would stand trial on those charges, he fled to Greece.

Zagaris filed and was granted a divorce (without her husband present) in Hamilton County. The court granted custody of Leo to his mom. Despite the charges pending against him, the court allowed for a clause in the divorce decree that not only gave Nick visitation rights, but guaranteed visits to Greece.

In exchange, Nick Zagaris would maintain child support payments and put $5,000 into an account controlled by his attorney as a sort of “insurance clause” that he would have to give to his ex-wife should he ever fail to return Leo in a timely fashion.

According to the State Department, Zagaris was lucky her ex-husband had not taken their son to a non-compliant nation such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, France or Poland — countries on the State Department’s “enforcement concerns” list when it comes to child issues.

Greece, however, is known as a country that works well with other countries.

She had other facts in her favor. Nick was not only a fugitive from a felony charge in Hamilton County, he was violating a court-ordered divorce agreement that specifically gave her custody.

The Greek courts set a hearing date for April 6, 2012.

During the delay, Zagaris also filed charges against Nick in Hamilton County, based on the violation of the custodial agreement. Hamilton County issued a warrant for his arrest.

She wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pleading for the White House to do something to help.


Not much happened.

“I used to be a very clear, organized thinker,” Zagaris said. “But I’ve lost my mind.

“There is a very high suicide rate with our kind. It’s very hard. We have to fight through every obstacle, every hurdle just to get our cases taken seriously.

“It’s like our children are wrapped up in this diplomatic nightmare.”

The State Department spokesman told The Indianapolis Star on Friday that it is working as quickly as it can.

“The Department of State is aware of the Zagaris case and is providing all appropriate assistance,” the spokesman said. “We will continue to monitor the case and the welfare of the child through close coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Athens and the Greek Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention.”

A final dagger?

With two legal victories in Greek courts, Zagaris was counting the days when she could bring her son back.

But on Jan. 9, the State Department sent Zagaris an email saying that the Greek Central Authority told U.S. officials that because of “recent judicial strikes” in Greece a final and formal decision could take up to two years to be published.

After that, her ex-husband would have 30 days to file yet another appeal, with the Greek supreme court, the email said. Another appeal would mean another long delay.

However, the State Department told her that it was working with Greek officials who seem to be willing to move forward with returning Leo to Indiana despite any future appeal … “and will be in touch as soon as the situation is clarified.”

Zagaris was stunned.

“It’s just back and forth, back and forth,” she said. “I’m frustrated. I’ve won the right twice now from Greece. I’ve got the acknowledgments from the courts.

“It’s been 19 months.”

While all this was happening, Zagaris said she received an angry phone call from her ex-husband. According to an FBI affidavit, Nick Zagaris threatened to “take (him) to the United Arab Emirates” — a nation not part of the Hague Convention.

Not long after that call, an FBI special agent filed the paperwork and U.S. Magistrate Judge Tim Baker signed the formal federal charges against Nikolaos Zagaris for international parental kidnapping.

Those charges have been filed with Interpol, the international police community comprising 190 countries, including Greece. Greek authorities now (or soon) will have the authority to simply arrest him on those charges.

But now all Zagaris can do is wait for the words that will finally end a mother’s nightmare.

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Parental Abduction: Thailand Child Abduction Law

July 14, 2012

Source: Thailand Family Law Center

Child abduction or “child kidnapping” cases typically occur during a child custody dispute, when one parent flees a legal jurisdiction with a child to avoid the jurisdiction of a particular court. International law and Thailand family law may come into play when a child is abducted from a foreign country and taken to Thailand or when a child is taken from Thailand to a foreign country, or when a child is abducted by a parent within Thailand.

Q: What should I do if my child is abducted and taken to Thailand?

A: The first thing a parent must do if a child has been abducted is to contact a qualified Thailand family law attorney and make a police report. A qualified attorney will assist with filing the necessary complaints with legal authorities. Based on the circumstances of each case, a family attorney may file a police report with the relevant embassy in Thailand, or file a formal request pursuant to the Hague Treaty. A Thai Family Law Attorney can file a court complaint with the Thailand family court. If criminal charges are involved, a criminal complaint may also be required.

Q: Can the Hague Convention on Child Abduction be used in Thailand?

A: The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction provides a procedure for parents who have had their children abducted by the other parent. The Hague Treaty on Child Abduction is executed through the governments of treaty member countries, but normally requires an attorney to file the appropriate documents with the government authority responsible for the retrieval of the child.

Thailand has formally acceded to the convention; however, at this time the proper procedures for acting upon the convention have not been codified into Thai law. This means that the convention, falls into an ambiguous area of Thailand law. In certain cases of child abduction originating in Thailand, wherein the child has been taken to a different that is a Hague connection signatory, a Hague Convention action may be filed through the relevant government authorities of the country. However, in cases where a child has been abducted and taken to Thailand, the aggrieved parents’ remedy may be through obtaining a court order from the Thai family court. Cases need to be examined individually.

Q: What is the procedure for retrieving a child who has been taken to Thailand?

A: In order to retrieve a child that has been abducted by a parent in Thailand, the parent who is seeking the return of the child must established custody rights of the child in Thailand Family Courts. A court order of sole custody can then be used by the aggrieved parent to obtain the return of the child. Such action can be enforced by Thailand court and police officials. Depending on the circumstances, a police complaint may also be necessary.

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Help reunite families destroyed by parental abduction

July 6, 2012


As our nation grapples with important issues involving a weak economy and out of control spending, there is one troubling concern that hits closer to home: the growing number of child abductions by non-custodial parents. These kidnappings are devastating and occur too frequently, but they can be solved with help from the public.

Bianca Lozano, a girl who has not seen her own mother in sixteen years, turns 18 years old on August 19th. Bianca was kidnapped during a weekend visit by her non-custodial father, Juan Antonio Lozano, when she was only 18 months old. Evidence indicates that Juan Antonio Lozano originally fled to Mexico after taking Bianca from her mother.

Her mother, Deana Herbert, has spent the last 16 years searching for a single clue about the safety and well-being of Bianca. She continues to work with federal, state and local law enforcement, Harris County officials, the State Department, the Texas Attorney General’s office, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the FBI and Crime Stoppers in Houston to locate her daughter.

This tragedy was brought to my attention shortly after I took office. We have consistently worked to encourage community awareness and to keep pressure on law enforcement to be diligent in solving this case. The communities both in the US and Mexico can help law enforcement with tips or any information they may have concerning Bianca’s whereabouts.

I urge the public to be aware of this tragedy and to aid in our efforts to find Bianca and other children like her. I am counting on the good nature of all Americans to think carefully if you have seen this girl or her father and to let authorities or my office know if you have any information about Bianca’s whereabouts.

Last year, at least 1,500 children were unlawfully taken to foreign countries by a parent who had been living in the United States. Only 578 of those children were returned home.Roughly one third of the abducted children ended up in Mexico because of the parent’s ties to extended family or because of Mexico’s proximity. Unfortunately, international parental abductions are growing rapidly, which makes finding these kidnapped children all the more difficult.

Five minutes is too long for a mother to go without knowing the whereabouts of her child. Sixteen years is unbearable. I implore the good people of Texas and Mexico to come forward with any information.

As the father of two wonderful children, I can only imagine the heartbreak Deana has felt over the past 16 years, missing her daughter’s milestone moments. We have tried to work with the State Department on this matter but time is running out. Due to the International agreement of the Hague Act and Bianca’s 18th birthday, the State Department is very limited in what they can do moving forward to help this family. That is why I am asking for the public’s help to look carefully and help connect this girl with her mother.

Bianca, now 18, has a light-brown, semi-oval-shaped birthmark on her right shoulder blade. At the time of her disappearance she had pierced ears. If anyone has any information about her location, please contact the FBI or local law enforcement. Bianca Lozano deserves to know that she has a mother in Texas who loves her very much and wants to know she is safe.

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What can I do if my child is abducted?

June 30, 2012 – ABP World Group Child Recovery Services


International child abduction is on the increase, according to family lawyers.
This fact is highlighted by the latest case to hit the newspapers – a seven year old child living abducted by her father Clark Rockefeller, during a supervised visit to him in America.
Reigh Boss, who lives in London with her mother, has not yet been found and, according to the press,  it seems that her father planned to take her, with  Reigh bundled into an accomplice’s waiting car, despite the attempts of a supervising social worker to stop him.
As family lawyers point out, marriages between couples of different nationalities have become more common over the last few decades – and international child abuction is consequently on the increase. Travel is now between countries and continents, which makes it  easier to abduct children.
Since it is usually the mother with whom young children are living, fathers are more often the abductors. (This is not correct. Red.) Mothers stands for approx.70% of all the abduction cases.
The problem has become so acute that the majority of civilised countries have signed international agreements to ensure that their courts will order the return of a snatched child to the parent from whom he or she was removed.
Sadly, there are some countries which are not signatories to these agreements.   When a child is removed to one of these, it may be difficult or even impossible to recover the child.
If you are afraid that your child might be abducted and taken abroad  by the other parent, you can alert your local police station.
If the threat of removal is ‘real’ and ‘imminent’ and you have evidence  to support your fear, police will circulate details of the possible abductor and child to all UK points of departure via the Police National Computer.
You can also write to your regional office of the UK Passport Service requesting them not to grant a passport to your child.
The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit [ICACU] is the authority responsible for  dealing with child abduction in England and Wales.
If you believe that your child is in danger of being abducted, ICACU advise that you keep the following information, or as much as is possible, ready:
On the Child:  – full name
-date and place of birth
– passport number, date and place of issue
-photographs or a physical description
– any entitlement to a passport other than a British passport
On the Person Who has Taken the Child:
– full name [including prior or maiden name and any aliases if applicable]
– date and place of birth
– passport number, date and place of issue
– photograph or a physical description
– probable date of departure
– departure information [eg flight, train, ferry]
–  details of ties to a foreign country – eg names, addresses and telephone
– numbers of relatives, friends or business contacts.
Copies of Documents:
–  any agreements or court orders which relate to the child
– child’s birth certificate
– marriage certificate or divorce decree
– name and address of solicitor [if you have one]

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Father searching for abducted daughter

Source: Phillyburbs

The day before Thanksgiving Max Troitsky got a call from his mom asking if he knew that his estranged wife and toddler daughter were visiting Russia.

He didn’t, but should have. Anna Troitsky was not supposed to leave the U.S. with their only child without his permission under their court-ordered custody agreement.

Nearly two months later, the Bensalem man is going public with what had been a private and bitter custody dispute in an effort to convince his wife to bring their daughter home or convince Russian authorities to intervene.

His attorney believes the situation could be Russia’s first test under the Hague Abduction Convention, which dictates civil aspects of International Child Abduction. In October Russia joined the Convention as a partner country, meaning it will honor civil verdicts issued by foreign courts, such as custody orders.

The U.S. State Department has seen a sharp increase in the number of international parental child abductions.

The federal agency had 1,135 reports of international child abductions in fiscal year 2009, and most of the alleged abductions were in Hague Convention partner countries, according to the most recent U.S. Department of State statistics. In 2006, there were 642 international abduction cases.

That same year, 436 children abducted or wrongly retained in foreign countries were returned to the United States, most of the children were returned from countries that are Hague Convention partners with the U.S.

The Troitsky’s custody saga started not long after the couple, both Russia natives, filed for divorce in 2010 after five years of marriage citing irreconcilable differences, according to court papers. At the time, Julie was 7 months old.

After the couple separated, Troitsky moved to Bensalem and Anna, Julie and mother-in-law Elena Demyanyuk continued to live in the family’s Upper Southampton home.

As the divorce and custody cases proceeded through the courts, Anna filed a petition seeking court permission to relocate to either Moscow, Russia, or Denver, Colorado, where her brother lives.

Troitsky says Anna, who came to the U.S. shortly before they married, often fought his efforts to get more visitations and overnight stays with their daughter.

“What parent doesn’t want to spend time with your child,” he said. “It was painful to me, painful to my parents, who rarely see their grandchild.”

In mid-November, though, a Bucks County judge issued custody order granting the couple shared legal custody of Julie. Anna had primary physical custody and Troitsky partial physical custody including weekends, overnight and weekday dinners. The judge also denied Anna’s request to relocate to either Russia or Denver, according to court papers.

Troitsky claims Anna only started talking about wanting to return to Russia after the divorce was filed, but he never anticipated his wife would violate the custody order.

“I certainly had no idea they were contemplating this,” he said.

The Courier Times was unsuccessful in reaching Montgomery County attorney Matthew F. Fox who is listed in court records as representing Anna Troitsky in her divorce and custody cases.

Four days after the final custody order was issued, though, Anna, Elena and Julie secretly left the U.S., Troitsky said.

Newtown Township attorney Jeff Leibmann, who represents Troitsky, believes Anna was able to leave the U.S. with Julie, who did not have a U.S. passport because she added her name to her Russian passport. Russia allows its citizens to add the names of children to the passports of parents.

Two days after arriving in Moscow, Elena told Troitsky’s mom in a phone call the three were in Moscow for a few days visiting Anna’s sick father.

Elena allegedly claimed that when Anna and Julie tried to return to the U.S. they were turned away at the airport because of a passport issue with Julie. She said Troitsky had to send a consent letter showing he authorized her to leave the U.S. with Julie, as required by their custody agreement.

The next day, when Troitsky reached Anna on the phone, she assured him she planned to return with Julie, but she also wanted a guarantee that she wouldn’t face criminal charges for taking their daughter out of the country.

Troitsky says he agreed not to pursue legal action. He made Anna an appointment at the U.S. embassy in Russia to start the process to get Julie a passport but she didn’t show up, Troitsky said.

Two days later, on Nov. 26, Troitsky said, Anna told him that she decided she wanted to stay longer in Russia. During that conversation, Troitsky spent a few minutes with Julie on Skype. It was the last time he saw or spoke to her, he says.

Within days, Troitsky says his suspicions that Anna had no plans to return were confirmed.

After he visited the Upper Southampton home, he discovered most of Anna and Julie’s clothes and personal belongings including family photos were gone. All the joint legal documents, including the deed to the house and title were gone, as were the car keys. He learned she quit her job after arriving in Moscow.

“It was clear she had no intention of ever coming back,” he said.

Troitsky and Anna had their last phone conversation three days before an emergency custody hearing was scheduled in Bucks County Court, he said. She told him she didn’t know when she’d return to the U.S.

At that hearing, a Bucks County judge ordered Anna to return to the U.S. with Julie within seven days, otherwise full physical and legal custody would be transferred to Troitsky.

But as far as he knows the three remain in Russia, most likely Moscow.

The U.S. embassy in Russia has been providing updates to Troitsky, but there hasn’t been much to report recently. The embassy has not had much success reaching Anna and Elena and even if they do, they can only encourage her to return, Leibmann said.

The embassy also has reached out to the Russian authorities for help finding Julie, but they are not under any obligation to help find her until Russia establishes a Central Authority to oversee compliance with the Hague Convention.

Troitsky said there is no reason his estranged wife should want to limit his access to Julie. There are no abuse allegations or evidence in any of the custody trial or related investigation. A check of county court records shows no protection from abuse orders filed against either Troitsky.

At this point, Anna may believe that she will be arrested if she returns, Troitsky said, adding he is not interested in pursuing criminal charges. The Upper Southampton police and the FBI have been notified about the situation to get Julie’s photos added to Interpol and U.S. law enforcement databases.

To get his daughter’s face, and his story, into the public eye, Troitsky and his supporters have created a Web site, called “Help Bring Julie Home.”

Troitsky says he has been on an emotional rollercoaster and he has spent many sleepless nights wondering about his child. He misses their special “father-daughter kind of moments.”

“At this point all I want to say is bring Julie back, come back with her, we’ll figure out the details of the custody,” he said. “Taking a child away from a father is not an option.”

In a few weeks Julie turns 2. The most time passes without contact with his daughter, the more Troitsky worries.

“She is probably starting to forget me,” he said.

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Abducted children not priority, fathers say – Canadian police and courts called ineffective

Source: CBC News

Two Canadian fathers whose children were allegedly abducted by their mothers and taken to European countries say authorities have done little to try to enforce court orders and bring them back.

Calum Hughes breaks down when he talks about how he misses his little girl, who he has not seen since 2009. (CBC)

“I’m holding my hands up going, ‘Can somebody please do something about this?'” said Calum Hughes, whose five-year-old daughter Livia was allegedly abducted by her mother from B.C. and taken to Italy in 2009.

“Somebody is not doing their job behind a desk,” said Gary Mezo, from Thunder Bay, Ont. His two-year-old son Gary Jr. has been in Hungary for a year. Court records confirm his mother took him there without his father’s permission.

“I believe Canada has to put its foot down — finally — and do whatever is written in law what has been ordered in court.”

There is a two-year-old Canada-wide warrant for the arrest of Hughes’s ex-wife, Sibylla Verdi, for child abduction. He hasn’t seen Livia for 2½ years.

“It’s the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of before I go to sleep at night,” said Hughes, of Kelowna, B.C.

Fathers have legal custody

Hughes is a hospital administrator and Mezo a successful businessman. Both were granted sole custody of their children by Canadian courts, but they said those orders have proven meaningless.

“A Canadian Supreme Court full custody ruling has no teeth,” said Hughes. “There’s not a lot of consequence that I see for a parent to just pick up and leave.”

Mezo alleges his ex was planning to abduct his son for more than a year.

“Before my child left, I told the police several times, please do something,” he said.

He has an affidavit and emails from a boyfriend of his child’s mother, showing she planned to leave and then claim abuse.

“He felt so bad that he couldn’t live with himself. He said that he had to do something about it. He wants me to have my child back,” said Mezo.

The Missing Children Society of Canada said while it has seen a steady increase in calls about international parental abductions, there is effectively nothing in place that could have prevented the abductions.

Child’s rights ‘at risk’

“The child’s rights are at risk here,” said private investigator Ted Davis. “A woman or man who wants to take their child [outside Canada or the U.S.] can simply jump on a plane and leave.”

Davis said his office is working on 60 cases of international abductions from Canada, dating back six years.

The latest RCMP figures show there were 237 reports of parental abduction in Canada in 2009 and 41 per cent of the children were under the age of five.

More than half the cases were resolved or withdrawn within a day. RCMP spokesperson Julie Gagnon said she didn’t know how many of the remaining children were taken to other countries.

She said when there is a warrant, as in the Hughes case, the RCMP can ask Interpol to put a “red notice” in the system, so the alleged abductor could be arrested at any border crossing.

She said, depending on the country and the case, extradition can also be initiated.

Dads desperate

However, Hughes said he heard nothing from the RCMP after a charge was laid against his ex-wife two years ago.

“They have done nothing,” said Hughes. “What message are we sending to everybody out there? If you don’t get a court order that you like, take your kid and leave the country? You will suffer no consequence? Is the Canadian justice system OK with that?”

RCMP spokesperson Dan Moskaluk insisted the investigation is still active.

“Resources involved in advancing this case since 2009 has involved RCMP investigators from the Kelowna detachment to assistance from our international policing branch liaison officer in Italy,” Moskaluk said.

CBC News sent messages to Sibylla Verdi, but received no response.

Mezo said he tried to get Thunder Bay police to pursue abduction charges in his case, but the investigating officer told him she couldn’t get approval. He believes that is partly because his wife falsely alleged he was abusive.

“It boils down to one thing — no reasonable grounds to get a charge approved,” said Thunder Bay police spokesperson Chris Adams. “These cases are very problematic. We don’t have the authority to enforce custody in another country.”

“It’s a very expensive proposition to initiate extradition on an abduction charge,” said Davis. “It’s not a priority [to police]. They don’t like getting involved in family cases when it’s not a life-threatening situation.”

Davis said under the current system, where parents can make applications for the child’s return under the Hague Convention, it takes two to three years and several thousand dollars to get children back, and it can only be done with signatory countries.

System slow, expensive

“If there’s no one stirring the pot, then no one is working the case,” he said. “The system is effective, but slow and very, very expensive.”

Both fathers made Hague applications. Italy refused to send Livia home, though, because the court believed his Italian ex-wife’s assertion that Hughes was an unfit father, allegations that were rejected by a Canadian court.

“That’s all needless details and garbage,” said Hughes. “I’ve spent over a hundred thousand dollars and how many hours in court. I’ve ended up with nothing in terms of a relationship with my daughter. ”

Mezo’s application is stalled in the Hungarian court system, which has sympathized with the Hungarian-born mother of his son.

“The Hungarian court said that ‘well there is no warrant out for her. She didn’t do anything wrong in Canada. So therefore we take it all with a grain of salt whatever the judge ordered in Canada,'” said Mezo.

His son’s mother, Boglarka Balog, sent an email to CBC News, again claiming abuse.

“The [Hungarian] court will value the behaviour of Gary that was violent so much in Hungary too, not only in Canada,” she wrote.

“Countries protect their own,” said Davis. “The stumbling block in Hague cases is when the court [overseas] is convinced there’s risk to the child [if returned].”

Call for exit controls

Hughes and Mezo said Canada should put some type of exit control in place, to try to stop parents from leaving with children they don’t have custody of.

“I was devastated when I learned [Livia and her mother] were gone because I knew what that meant,” said Hughes. “If they had been stopped, this would have all been prevented.”

“It’s happening everywhere [in the world]. But nobody is doing anything about it. Somebody has to step up and put their foot down and say enough is enough,” said Mezo.

Airlines and governments advise travellers to have a consent letter from the other parent if they want to fly with a child alone, but that system is voluntary.

“It’s smoke and mirrors — and those letters can be forged,” said Davis, who agreed exit controls are needed. “We have a file cabinet full of international cases.”

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed airlines can do nothing to stop a parent from leaving with a child, even when they don’t have a letter.

“Since there’s no governmental requirement, the airlines have no legal mandate to be checking these,” said spokesperson Perry Flint, who added airlines could open themselves up to lawsuits if they refuse to let a paying passenger board.

A U.S. government agency recently proposed establishing a “no fly” list – for parents who the courts have ruled are likely to abduct their children.

CBC News asked several federal departments if something like that is being considered for Canada. Transport Canada said it is not, Foreign Affairs did not reply and Public Safety said that would not be its department.

Both fathers said their children have been let down by a system that is ineffective and hasn’t made children’s rights a priority.

“I’ve tried everything by the book,” said Hughes. “This [going public] is my last hope to ever see Livia.”

“I wouldn’t have imagined in my dreams that my country would let me down or let my son down,” said Mezo. “It’s hard to go to work and pay taxes … when this country is not backing you up.”

Read: International Parental Child Abduction: The Hague convention – Proved Useless 

Read: When the Hague Convention won`t help

And: The Hague Convention is not enough to recover your child

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Julen er høytid for barnebortføring

Source: VG Nett

Advarer mot barnebortføringer i julen

Flere titalls barn blir hvert år bortført fra Norge. Julen kan være en tid hvor utsatte foreldre må være påpasselige.

BEKYMRET: For 12 år siden ble Kjell Schevigs datter bortført til Tyskland. Schevig leder nå foreldrenettverket bortfø

– Det er julen og sommerferier som er høytid for barnebortføring. Vi ser det når pultene står tomme når skolen starter igjen, sier Kjell Schevig, leder for bortfø

Hans egen datter ble bortført til Tyskland for 12 år siden.

Schevig understreker at dette gjelder foreldre som er i konflikt.

– Dette gjelder barn med foreldre med ulik nasjonalitet, der den utenlandske forelderen tar med barna med på juleferie hos for eksempel besteforeldre. Det er i disse tilfellene barna kan bli holdt tilbake, sier Schevig.

– Lett å tenke seg

Siden 2000 har Justisdepartementet registrert at 400 barn er blitt bortført fra Norge. I år ble det frem til juli registrert 16 nye saker som gjelder barnebortføring fra Norge til utlandet, og totalt 10 til Norge.

– Vi har ikke tallgrunnlag som tilsier en økning i julen. Det er imidlertid lett å tenke seg, for bortføring oppstår gjerne idet øyeblikket barnet ikke kommer hjem igjen i forbindelse med en reise. I julen er det naturlig å reise til for eksempel den ene forelderens hjemland, sier statssekretær Astri Aas-Hansen i Justisdepartementet.

GPS-sporere på barna

BEKYMRET: For 12 år siden ble Kjell Schevigs datter bortført til Tyskland. Schevig leder nå foreldrenettverket bortfø Foto: Privat Foto:

I Norge er det også selskaper som spesialiserer seg på å hente barna hjem.

– Man bør sørge for å ha oppdaterte bilder og kontroll på reisedokumenter. Det er også viktig med dialog med skole og barnehage, sier direktør i sikkerhetsselskapet ABP World Group, Martin Waage, som deler frykten for flere bortføringer i julen.

Waage estimerer at det hvert år blir bortført rundt 70 – 80 barn fra Norge. Dette innebefatter mørketall som myndigheten ikke registrerer.

– Det finnes også trackere eller GPS-sporere man kan feste i skolesekken eller kosebamsen, sier han.

– Er det ikke drøyt å feste en sporingsanordning på barna?

– Det er drøyere å la barna bli bortført, sier Waage.

Fraråder å «hente» barna

Justisdepartementet fraråder å bruke private selskaper til å føre barnet tilbake.

– Det kan være å begå en straffbar handling i det landet barnet befinner seg, og vi er redde for sikkerheten til barnet, sier statssekretær Aas-Hansen.

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” Jamais vous n’aurez mon fils! “, un livre sur le rapt parental

Dans son livre “Jamais vous n’aurez mon fils!”, Isabelle Neulinger expose son combat pour son fils, enlevé en Israël.

En décembre 2010, la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme (CEDH) tranchait en faveur d’Isabelle Neulinger, une mère ayant enlevé son fils en Israël pour le soustraire à un mouvement religieux intégriste juif dont son mari était devenu adepte. Le livre “Jamais vous n’aurez mon fils!” (éditions La boîte à Pandore, écrit avec Nancy Ferroni), retrace le parcours et le combat juridique de cette mère belgo-suisse.

En 2005, Isabelle Neulinger fuit clandestinement Israël par le désert du Sinaï pour soustraire son fils à l’emprise d’un groupe d’ultra-religieux dont son mari faisait partie.

Une première décision de la CEDH en janvier 2009 avait confirmé l’arrêt du Tribunal fédéral ordonnant le retour du fils d’Isabelle en Israël en 2007. Ces deux instances s’appuyaient sur la Convention sur l’enlèvement international d’enfant, qui prévoit le retour immédiat dans l’Etat d’origine.

En 2010, la CEDH a autorisé son fils (7 ans), à rester définitivement en Suisse. Cet arrêt fait aujourd’hui jurisprudence et marque, selon l’auteur, un tournant dans l’interprétation du droit de la famille et du droit international privé.

A travers son livre, Isabelle Neulinger souhaite soulever des “problèmes cruciaux de la société israélienne contemporaine“: la non-séparation de la religion et de l’Etat, la problématique du divorce, qui s’obtient uniquement avec l’accord du mari et devant un tribunal rabbinique, ainsi que le statut des femmes immigrées ne pouvant quitter Israël avec leur enfant mineur. Une situation qu’elle qualifie de “dramatique et inextricable”.

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