Dad takes kids in Fairfax, flees to Tunisia


Source: Washington Examiner

By: Emily Babay | 12/20/11 8:05 PM
Examiner Staff Writer | Follow Her: @Emilybabay
Photo courtesy of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
PHOTO COURTESY OF NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN
Zainab Chebbi

Authorities are trying to recover two young Fairfax County children who were allegedly kidnapped by their father and taken to Tunisia.

Two-year-old Zainab Chebbi and 5-year-old Eslam Chebbi have been missing since Nov. 11, when prosecutors say their father, 39-year-old Faical Chebbi, flew with them to Tunisia.

Faical Chebbi called the children’s mother — his ex-wife — the next day and told her he and the children would not be returning, according to court records. Chebbi was charged in federal court in Alexandria with international parental kidnapping.

Chebbi and Edeanna Johnson-Chebbi divorced in January, nearly a year after she obtained a protective order because he threatened to kill her, according to court documents. Johnson-Chebbi had sole custody of Zainab and Eslam; Chebbi absconded with the children after picking them up from their grandparents’ house in Prince George’s County for a scheduled visit, according to the court documents.

“At first, I was sort of in an action mode,” said Johnson-Chebbi, who has created a Facebook pageand online petitions about the case. She said coping has gotten harder over the past month, but she is still optimistic her children will be returned.

“What else are you going to do?” she told The Washington Examiner. “I won’t allow myself to imagine that this will pass. They will be home. I just don’t know how or when.”

But Johnson-Chebbi faces an uphill battle. There are no treaties or agreements between the United States and Tunisia regarding parental abduction cases. The countries also don’t have an extradition treaty. And her ex-husband’s “arrogance” means the filing of criminal charges is unlikely to change his mindset, Johnson-Chebbi said.

She said the family’s court documents were on file with the Tunisian Embassy and the children shouldn’t have been able to obtain passports.

No attorney was listed for Chebbi in court records. The embassy didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Anyone with information can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST (843-5678).

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Warning of child abduction to sharia law states


Source:The Irish Times, Dublin

FORMER MEP Mary Banotti has called on the Government to monitor the number of reported child abduction cases involving sharia law countries which have not signed international conventions on the issue.

Figures published by the Department of Justice last week showed that a record 141 transnational child abduction cases were dealt with by the authorities last year.

The department said 141 cases involving 183 children were received by the Central Authority for Child Abduction in 2008, an increase of 42 cases on 2007 and the highest annual total since the unit was established in 1991.

However, Ms Banotti, who is president of Irish Centre for Parentally Abducted Children, said it was very difficult to retrieve children who were abducted by one parent to a state that had not signed the Hague conventions on child abduction. Cases involving countries governed by sharia law were particularly difficult to resolve.

“I think there should be a record kept of all children removed to sharia law countries,” she said.

Ms Banotti pointed to a case in which an Irish woman, originally from a north African state, was reunited in January with her four children six years after her husband took them back to their country of origin without her consent. Because the African state had not signed the Hague conventions, the woman had no legal avenue to pursue in order to retrieve her children, who were aged between two and seven when they were taken in 2002.

She was eventually reunited with them in January after her husband was arrested by gardaí on his return to Ireland.

Ms Banotti said the latest child abduction figures corroborated her organisation’s view that the problem remained significant. The centre received reports of seven abductions in the past week.

A major shift in trends in recent years was that, whereas women until recently made up the vast majority of those reporting abduction, today at least half of reports came from men.

While the overwhelming majority of transnational abduction cases investigated here once involved the United States and the UK, recent immigration patterns are reflected in the variety of central and eastern European countries that have appeared on the department’s list in recent years.

In 2008, a total of 33 cases related to states that joined the EU since 2004, including Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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