Kidnapping: Saudi Arabia urges citizens not to travel to Lebanon


September 16, 2013

Source: The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia has warned its citizens against travel to Lebanon, reported the Saudi national news agency (SPA) Thursday. “The Foreign Ministry calls on all citizens not to travel to Lebanon for their own safety due to the current situation in the region,” SPA said.

Ali Awad Asiri

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri speaks during a press conference in Rabieh, Tuesday, July 2, 2013. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul, HO)

 

The Ministry also called on citizens living in or visiting Lebanon to contact the Saudi embassy in Beirut to provide them with the necessary assistance.

Last week, the U.S. urged its non-emergency staff and their family members to leave Lebanon, citing security concerns.

That announcement came after U.S. President Barack Obama said he would seek congressional approval for a military strike against the regime in Lebanon’s neighbor Syria. But Obama Tuesday urged Congress to put off the vote, vowing to explore a diplomatic plan from Russia to take away Syria’s chemical arms.

Lebanon has vowed to protect embassies in the country.

Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Wednesday that Lebanon regards as important the security of foreign embassies.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon Ali Asiri has recently said that his country has put in place a contingency plan for the evacuation of its nationals in Lebanon.

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Kidnapping and Terror in The Middle East and North Africa: Foreign Office raises Egypt terror threat


November 3, 2012

Source: The Guardian

Egypt terror threat raised from medium to high after series of deadly militant attacks across north Sinai.

The Foreign Office has raised its terrorism warning for visitors to Egypt from medium to high, particularly urging Britons against travel to the Sinai region, after a recent spate of militant attacks.

The change comes on the same day that a report revealed that police in Egypt had foiled a plot by al-Qaida-linked militants to attack tourists in the popular Red Sea coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The Mirror said the attack, involving firearms and rocket-propelled grenades, had been planned for Christmas.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said she could not comment on any link, adding that changes to travel advice were based on “a number of sources”.

While Sharm el-Sheikh is on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, it and other nearby resorts, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab, are excluded from the Foreign Office advice against travel to the region.

The Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that on 2 November we amended our travel advice for Egypt. Our advice makes clear that there is a high threat from terrorism in Egypt.”

Its website says: “Although security is tight throughout the country, especially in resort areas, there remains a high risk of attacks, which could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers such as hotels and restaurants.”

The advice warns against all travel to north Sinai, where there have been attacks on security forces near the border with Gaza and Egypt, including one which killed 16 soldiers.

The advice says that even in south Sinai security has deteriorated this year, with a number of hijacks and kidnaps away from resort areas.

Egypt has been trying to rebuild its tourism industry after last year’s widespread unrest ended the long rule of Hosni Murbarak as president.

Last month the antiquities minister, Muhammad Ibrahim, reopened the restored pyramid of Chefren and six tombs at Giza, using the occasion to stress the country’s safety for tourists.

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Carjacking Facts – Robbery Prevention Advice


Source: crimedoctor

Carjacking is Robbery

Carjacking is the violent form of motor vehicle theft. It is a serious threat to our personal safety because the thief uses force and fear to rob our car from us. Sometimes the car owner or other occupants are kidnapped during a carjacking, and if lucky will be dropped off nearby unharmed. The worst case scenario occurs when you are transported to a secondary crime scene, which is usually more dangerous than the original confrontation. Those not so lucky victims have suffered other crimes like rape, aggravated assault, and even homicide.

Since the mid-1980s, carjacking has captured the attention of the media with reports of these sudden and violent attacks. Carjackers have unknowingly driven off with infants still in the backseat of the car, leaving behind a screaming and emotionally distressed parent. Other drivers have been violently pulled out of their seats and left lying on the road, terrified by what just occurred.

The crime of carjacking can be traumatic to our everyday lives because it creates fear in the common act of driving a car. Victims of carjacking have reported being unable to drive a car again while others required months of therapy. Others have become so hypersensitive, that embarrassing and dangerous situations have arisen in response to their fear when someone unwittingly approached their car on foot.

How Carjacking Got Started

Carjacking has always been around, especially in large metropolitan cities, we just rarely read about it. The crime of carjacking “took off” in the 1980s after the media published stories of bizarre situations and the violence associated with the crime. The media coined the phrase “carjacking” and the crime of auto theft took on a new identity. After a rush of publicity, other criminals “copied” the crime of carjacking. These copycat criminals must have said, “Hey, I can steal any vehicle I want without damaging it, I get the car keys, and I can rob the owner too. What a concept!”

Another reason carjacking got started is because of the sophistication and prevalence of new anti-theft devices and alarm systems. New car alarms and steering wheel locking systems made it tougher on the auto thief. Chip-integrated ignition switches, engine cutoff devices, and stolen vehicle locators are now more common in cars. Unfortunately for us, poorly motivated and unskilled car thieves have adapted by becoming more violent to get the cars they need and don’t think twice about using force against us.

Sometimes criminals will carjack a vehicle for use in another crime like armed robbery or for a drive-by shooting. These carjackers prefer to have a set of car keys and not have a visibly smashed window or damaged ignition switch that can be easily spotted by the police. This class of car thief is the most dangerous because they are usually heavily armed and are not concerned with your welfare.

How Often Does Carjacking Occur

National carjacking statistics are not available. However, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)* made a telephone assessment of 221,000 households from 1992-1996 to gain an understanding of the extent of the carjacking problem. The biggest problem of tracking carjacking incidents is current police agency reporting practices. Most criminal codes have not adopted this new crime type nor do they track it statistically. Most police jurisdictions charge the crime of carjacking as a robbery since force or fear was used to steal the vehicle directly for the owner. Many police agencies record multiple charges like aggravated robbery, auto theft, assault, battery to one event but usually only the first charge (robbery) gets indexed and statistically tracked. Some jurisdictions charge the crime of carjacking as only an auto theft since a vehicle was stolen.

Since the crime of carjacking is not indexed in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, it is unlikely that we will soon see a national statistic on frequency that is generated from police reports. What we have to work with is the NCVS telephone survey as the source of our data.

From the study of 1992-1996, the NCVS learned that each year 49,000 carjackings and attempts occur in the United States. About half of the reported carjackings were failed attempts. Of the completed carjackings, 92% had weapons where only 75% were armed during the failed attempts. Unfortunately, this statistic tells us that carjackers must be armed to be taken seriously by victims. A handgun was the weapon of choice followed by a knife. Males were responsible for 97% of the carjackings and attempts and were usually carried out by either one or two perpetrators.

Where Does Carjacking Occur

Carjacking can occur anywhere, but is largely a big city problem like traditional auto theft. See my web site on auto theft facts for more information.

Carjacking occurs most often in a busy commercial area where cars are parked and when the owner is entering or exiting the parked vehicle. Most carjackings or attempts (65%) occur within five miles of the victim’s home. The carjacker wants the keys readily available and the car door unlocked for a quick getaway. Carjackers tend to rob lone victims more often (92%), for obvious reasons. According to the NCVS, men were victimized more often than women, blacks more than whites; Hispanics, more than non-Hispanics; and divorced, separated, or never married more than married or widowed. This trend is not surprising given the fact that younger single males tend to take more chances and go to higher risk locations than do married persons. It is unclear whether household income or the value of the vehicle is a criterion in carjacking as the statistics are spread throughout the income levels. However the $35,000 to $50,000 income range had a slightly higher carjack victim frequency.

Surprisingly, the NCVS study indicates that 64% of the daytime carjackings were actually completed, while less than half of those at night were completed. This may be reflective of who is being victimized and who is out at night. About 62% of all carjacking victims took some form of action to defend themselves or their property. Victims were injured about 20% of the time in completed carjackings and about 16% during attempts. Although the statistics aren’t clear, each year about 27 homicides are reported related to auto theft. Also interesting is that 100% of the completed carjack victims called the police, whereas only 57% called to report an attempt carjacking. This variable in reporting is probably related to the desire to get their property back and for insurance purposes.

Popular carjacking locations are parking lots, shopping centers, gas stations, car washes, convenience stores, ATMs, hotels, valet parking, fast-food drive-thru, and outside of retail stores. Close proximity to a freeway onramp is a desirable escape factor from the carjackers prospective. A risky, but popular location for the carjacker is a roadway intersection with a stoplight. A carjacker will jump out of another vehicle, pull open your unlocked drivers’ door, and force you to get out. The type of carjacking allows for a quick escape but increases their risk of being followed by other drivers armed with cell phones. There have been incidents where well-meaning citizens got into a high-speed chase following carjackers and ended up being victims themselves.

The “Bump” and Carjack

Another copycat scheme used by carjackers is to bump your car from behind to get you to pull over and stop. We have all been trained to always stop following an auto accident to exchange license and insurance information. What a perfect scenario for a carjacker!

The carjacker, and his accomplice, will follow the intended victim to a suitable location with good escape routes and few witnesses. The carjacker will crash into the back of your vehicle at low speed and “bump” you with enough force to make you believe a traffic accident had just occurred. Beware of the Good Samaritan. Typically, the drivers of both vehicles pull over, stop, and get out discussing the damage. At this point the carjacker robs you of your vehicle, its’ contents, and drives away. The carjacker’s car gets driven away by the accomplice. Hopefully you won’t be injured during the exchange.

What Should You Do?

Carjacking of parked vehicles depends on the car owner being inattentive to their surroundings. Carjackers, like street robbers, prefer the element of surprise. Most victims say they never saw the carjacker until they appeared at their car door. To reduce your risk of being carjacked, I have listed some common sense steps below:

  • Always park in well-lighted areas, if you plan to arrive/leave after dark
  • Don’t park in isolated or visually obstructed areas near walls or heavy foliage
  • Use valet parking or an attended garage, if you’re a woman driving alone
  • As you walk to your car be alert to suspicious persons sitting in cars
  • Ask for a security escort if you are alone at a shopping center
  • Watch out for young males loitering in the area (handing out flyers, etc)
  • If someone tries to approach, change direction or run to a busy store
  • Follow your instincts if they tell you to walk/run away to a busy place
  • As you approach your vehicle, look under, around, and inside your car
  • If safe, open the door, enter quickly, and lock the doors
  • Don’t be a target by turning your back while loading packages into the car
  • Make it your habit to always start your car and drive away immediately
  • Teach and practice with your children to enter and exit the car quickly
  • In the city, always drive with your car doors locked and windows rolled up
  • When stopped in traffic, leave room ahead to maneuver and escape, if necessary
  • If you are bumped in traffic, by young males, be suspicious of the accident
  • Beware of the Good Samaritan who offers to repair your car or a flat tire. It’s okay to get help, just be alert
  • Wave to follow, and drive to a gas station or busy place before getting out
  • If you are ever confronted by an armed carjacker don’t resist
  • Give up your keys or money if demanded without resistance
  • Don’t argue, fight or chase the robber. You can be seriously injured
  • Never agree to be kidnapped. Drop the cars keys and run and scream for help
  • If you are forced to drive, consider crashing your car near a busy intersection to attract attention so bystanders can come to your aid and call the police
  • Call the police immediately to report the crime and provide detailed information

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Child abduction issue should be key concern in Japan-U.S. relations


Source: Japan Today

TOKYO —

The issue of international child abductions in Japan should be a key concern in bilateral relations between Japan and the United States.

For years, the international community has been pressuring Japan to abide by international human rights standards in preventing cross-border parental kidnapping.

Japan has been censured for not being a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which protects children from wrongful removal or retention from their habitual place of residence.

Though former Prime Minister Naota Kan announced on May 20 last year that Japan intends to sign The Hague Convention, Japan is the only G8 member that has yet to become a signatory. LBPs (Left Behind Parents) are cautious to find the signing as reason to cheer because changes are also needed in Japan’s family courts for them to be reunited with their children. The continued condoning of both domestic and international child abduction cases can be traced to Japan’s family court.

Japan’s family court often awards sole custody to the parent with whom the child is residing. If the other parent wishes to see their child, permission by the parent to whom custodial rights were awarded becomes necessary.

This means that the parent who takes away the child from the other parent first will be in a superior bargaining position, since the family court overwhelmingly recognizes the status quo of whom the child is residing with.

Many LBPs have criticized the Japanese judicial system for condoning abduction by granting sole custody rights to the parent who snatches the child away first. In situations where cross-border kidnappings take place, the foreign parent is effectively powerless, as the Japanese family court will rule in favor of the parent with whom the child is residing. This has led some bereaved foreign LBPs to refer to Japan as a “black hole for child abduction.”

First, the Japanese government’s stance to become a signatory of The Hague Convention is an indication of changes in favor of adopting international human rights standards.

The move comes at a time when the numbers of international marriages and divorces are increasing in Japan. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, approximately 19,000 international marriages ended in divorce last year in Japan, comprising 7.5% of the total number of divorces in Japan. In 2010, the ratio to divorces to all marriages in Japan was approximately 36%. Children of divorce are at significant risk of losing access to one parent in the current family law system.

Things are finally starting to change at both the international and domestic levels. There are two model cases, one in Wisconsin and one in Matsudo, Chiba.

Japan has stuck to awarding sole custody to one parent following a divorce since the Meiji era. Though some have mentioned this as evidence of sole custody being a part of Japan’s culture, in reality, this system has also created a legal system that condones child abductions.

In addition, on Dec 23, 2011, a girl was returned to her father in Wisconsin after being abducted by her Japanese mother nearly 4 years earlier, the first return of an abducted child from Japan by means of the courts.

She was reunited with her father when her mother, who had been arrested in April 2011 in Hawaii on child abduction charges, agreed to a plea bargain to be released from jail in exchange for returning their daughter to the United States.

The case, which received wide coverage in international and Japanese media, marked the first time for Japanese media such as NHK and Asahi to use the term “tsuresari” (abduction) rather than “tsurekaeru” (to bring home).

Of course, a plea bargain is still not the equivalent of a change in stance in Japan’s family court, but changes are also gradually being implemented in the domestic sphere as well.

Many people following the child abduction issue are closely monitoring the development of a high-profile domestic abduction case in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, to see if a judicial precedent making child abductions an unlawful act will be made.

On April 26, 2011, former Justice Minister Satsuki Eda mentioned three criteria that need to be considered in determining the custody of children after divorce, as stated in article 766, in his remarks to the Committee on Judicial Affairs.

The three criteria are: the abduction of children should be eligible for consideration as child abuse; the issuance of custody rights should favor parents who are willing to allow the other parent visitation of their children (also known as the “friendly parent rule”); and parents who commit unlawful abductions of their child should be at a disadvantage in the issuance of custody rights.

At the domestic level, article 766 of Japan’s civil code, which stipulates legal guidelines for the custody of children after divorce, was revised on June 3, 2011, to include a provision which states that visitation and economic support must be deliberated between the two spouses before divorce papers are submitted.

As stated in the “friendly parent rule,” one of the three criteria underlined by Eda, not allowing visitation, ought to work unfavorably toward obtaining custody rights. In cases where the child has already been abducted, the LBP may offer the abducting parent visitation in fighting to recover their child in court.

In effect, the revision of article 766 is significant, as the abduction of a child by a parent will be in breach of the new provision. This measure, if properly enforced by Japan’s family court, will help prevent the abduction of children by a parent.

However, when asked to recognize the remarks made by Eda, Tatsushige Wakabayashi, the judge presiding over the case, reportedly remarked, “What the justice minister says at the Diet is irrelevant.”

In response, various LBP groups have called for Wakabayashi to step down. Wakabayashi has yet to make a final verdict, leaving both domestic LBP groups and the international community tense anticipating his decision.

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Parental Abduction – Woman stopped at border on kidnapping warrant


Source: KLTV

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) – A Florida woman awaits extradition and two boys have been turned over to Texas Child Protective Services after U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained the woman officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge on an outstanding kidnapping warrant.

CBP spokesman Eduardo Perez says agents stopped 25-year-old Iris Sandoval of Gibsonton, Fla., Monday when a database revealed the November 2008 parental kidnapping warrant from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Hidalgo Police Capt. Robert Vela says the boys, ages 7 and 8 years old, were turned over to Child Protective Services Monday night. Sandoval was being held at the Hidalgo County Jail in Edinburg awaiting return to Florida.

A sheriff’s spokesman didn’t return a call for comment Tuesday.

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Prevention of Parental Abduction – Recognizing the Warning Signs


Source: Jeanne M. Hannah

Prevention of Parental Abduction | Recognizing the Red Flags

Families are under so much stress in today’s society–financial and relationship stress–that parentalabduction of the children may become an issue in any given family. I have often been contacted in the past year by a parent who says his/her spouse has taken the children and moved to another state. I advise them of their rights under the UCCJEA, and of the importance of protecting home state jurisdiction by seeking return of the children to their home state before six months have elapsed, after which the new state may become the “home state” of the children where a custody battle would have to be waged. [A later post will discuss the concept of “extended home state jurisdiction.”]

Abduction prevention and recovery of abducted children has become a major part of my practice. Because the effects of abduction on children can be very serious [See Part I of this series], it is important for parents to put preventative measures in place. The purpose of today’s post is to provide parents with information to help them assess whether they should be concerned about parental abduction.

Red flags” identified by the Department of State.The Department of State identifies the following “red flags” or warning signs of risk. [See “A Family Resource Guide on International Parental Kidnapping” [From the Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention] at pages 4-5.] The Resource Guide also discusses profiles common to abducting or “taking parents.” While most parents don’t have to worry about a parent taking the child or children to a foreign country, the warning signs for interstate kidnapping are generally about the same as those for international kidnapping.According to the OJJDP, although there are no foolproof warning signs or psychological profiles for abduction risk, there are some indicators that should not be ignored. Parents are urged to be alert to the warning signs that an international kidnapping may be in the offing.

It may be a “red flag” if a parent has:

•    Previously abducted or threatened to abduct the child. Some threats are unmistakable,
such as when an angry or vindictive parent verbally threatens to kidnap the child so
that “you will never see the child again.” Others are less direct. For instance, you
may learn about the other parent’s plans through casual conversation with your child.
•    Citizenship in another country and strong emotional or cultural ties to the country of origin. [For interestate kidnapping, the obvious red flag is–family ties and friends in other states, with none in the state where the children are living with both parents.
•    Friends or family living in another country (or, in some cases another state).
•    No strong ties to the child’s home state.
•    A strong support network.
•    No financial reason to stay in the area (e.g., the parent is unemployed, able to work
anywhere, or is financially independent).
• Engaged in planning activities, such as quitting a job; selling a home; terminating a lease; closing a bank account or liquidating other assets; hiding or destroying documents; or securing a passport, a birth certificate, or school or medical records.
•    A history of marital instability, lack of cooperation with the other parent, domestic violence, or child abuse.
•    Reacted jealously to or felt threatened by the other parent’s remarriage or new romantic involvement.
•    A criminal record.

Are there personality profiles of parents who may pose an abduction risk?

OJJDP has identified six personality profiles that may be helpful in predicting which parents may pose a risk of abduction, using the identifications presented by Girdner and Johnston in their research report Prevention of Family Abduction Through Early Identification of Risk Factors. That report is listed in the “Recommended Reading” section at the end of the OJJDP guide. OJJDP cautions that while these profiles may be helpful in predicting which parents may pose a risk of abduction, they do not guarantee that parents who fit a particular profile will abduct or that parents who do not fit a profile will not.

The six profiles are:

•    Profile l: Parents who have threatened to abduct or have abducted previously.
•    Profile 2: Parents who are suspicious or distrustful because of their belief that abuse has occurred and who have social support for their belief.
•    Profile 3: Parents who are paranoid.
•    Profile 4: Parents who are sociopathic.
•    Profile 5: Parents who have strong ties to another country and are ending a mixed-culture marriage. [For interstate abductions, this may be strong ties to another state and/or strong family ties to a dysfunctional family.]
•    Profile 6: Parents who feel disenfranchised from the legal system (e.g., those who are poor, a minority, or victims of abuse) and have family and social support.

According to the OJJDP Guide, taking parents across the six personality profiles share many common characteristics.

  • They are likely to deny or dismiss the value of the other parent to the child.
  • They believe they know what is best for the child, and they cannot see how or why they should share parenting with the other parent.
  • They are likely to have very young children who are easy to transport and conceal and who are unlikely to protest verbally or tell others of their plight.
  • With the exception of the paranoid profile, abducting parents are apt to have the financial and moral support of a network of family, friends, and/or cultural, community, or underground groups.
  • Many abductors do not consider their actions illegal or morally wrong.
  • Finally, according to the Guide, mothers and fathers are equally likely to abduct, although at different times—fathers before a court order, mothers after an order has been made.

Parents who fit profile 5—those who are citizens of another country (or who have dual citizenship with the United States) and who also have strong ties to their extended family in their country of origin—have long been recognized as those who might engage in international parental abduction. The risk is especially acute at the time of parental separation and divorce, when the parent feels cast adrift from a mixed-culture marriage and a need to return to ethnic or religious roots for emotional support and to reconstitute a shaken self-identity. Often, in reaction to being rendered helpless or to the insult of feeling rejected and discarded by the ex-spouse, a parent may try to take unilateral action by returning with the child to his or her family of origin. This is a way of insisting that one cultural identity be given preeminent status over the other in the child’s upbringing. Often the parent will have idealized his or her own culture, childhood, and family of origin.

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China Briefing: Kidnapping Attempts on Foreign Schoolkids in Beijing


Foreign schoolchildren are the potential new targets in child kidnapping cases following an incident at one of Beijing’s luxury compounds this past weekend.

On Saturday afternoon at approximately 4:30 p.m., the student was outside the side exit of the Yosemite Villa Estate and a man, unknown to her, came towards her and gave her a hug. She pushed him away but he then attempted to lift her up and drag her into his car. Fortunately a guard and a taxi driver stepped forward to help her and she safely returned home. The incident has been reported to the police for further investigation … The suspect is described as a 30-40 year old Chinese man of average height and build, short (buzz) haircut, frame-less glasses, wearing a dark-colored jacket and pants, and driving a small dark-colored car.

It’s not just children. There have been reported cases of kidnappers targeting women driving expensive cars. BJ is no different than any major city. Where I come from, car jacking is not unusual. You should always be on alert and pay attention to your surroundings.

Yes it is true and this is not the first time this happend. Young woman I know was attacked by a man in the city. She is rather tall and could get away but can tell you that she still “carries” it with her.
And another kidnap attempt happend near the Yashow. Her friend could help her and also there was a little van approaching them with open door.

It made me more allert and even it is a boy, still foreigner, my 14 year old boy is (was) not allowed to go to town in the evening or during day by himself by taxi. But now not even by himself in the neighbourhood. I know it must be possible to do so but I am very glad he understands my concerns and he deals with this without any comment. Only the idea that they take you child…
And I agree with Esther we all have to be allert why should this not happen in Beijing while it happens everywere else in the world.
It does not mean we must be scared to go out of the house but just be allert.

According to the China Briefing post, a few schools have issued warnings to parents and have offered some advice on what to do in such situations. Click here to read more.

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Sharp rise in international parental kidnapping cases


By: Emily Babay

One year ago, Douglass Berg, of Reston, said goodbye to his son and daughter before they boarded a flight with his ex-wife on what was supposed to be a three-week visit to her native Japan. He has not seen the children since.


Stefanie Gardner, a native of Germany, traveled to that country with the two young sons she had been raising in Northern Virginia with her estranged husband, Gregory. Since then, she has refused to allow them to return. He accused her of kidnapping the boys, and a warrant for her arrest was issued in the United States. But a German court has awarded her sole custody.

For an increasing number of parents in the Washington area, child-bearing relationships with a foreign partner are deteriorating into charges of child abductions, and in many cases legal struggles in which the deck is stacked against Americans fighting the laws of another country.

Nationwide, the number of cases is rising dramatically. There were 1,135 international child abductions in fiscal 2009, according to State Department statistics. That’s nearly double the 642 cases reported in 2006.

Foreign travel, military operations and immigration have spurred an increase in international relationships, experts say. And an international city such as Washington, full of embassy personnel and staffers for global companies, is fertile ground for such abductions. But parents of different nationalities raising children together can lead to “cultural differences that people may not be willing to compromise on,” said Donna Linder, executive director of the nonprofit Child Find of America.

Berg told The Washington Examiner that his ex-wife “felt like I was invading her turf” by sharing custody of Gunnar, now age 10, and Kianna, 9, after their divorce. She thought child care was a mom’s responsibility.

“That may be her culture, but that’s certainly not mine,” he said.

Gardner’s attorneys say tensions grew between Gardner and her husband, and he consented to her taking the children to Germany in 2004.

German court documents show that, in 2005, she was awarded custody of Alec, now age 8, and Dominic, now 7. In 2006, a federal warrant was issued for Gardner’s arrest. Her attorneys are trying to get the charge dropped. One of them, Steven Gremminger, said they’ve given authorities information from German courts and the prosecutor “has indicated that she’s having the FBI review that.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria and the FBI declined to comment.

“There’s nothing easy” about international abduction cases, said Stefanie Eye, a State Department division chief for abductions. “You’re dealing with the laws of two or more sovereign nations.” Resolutions are often hard to find.

In 1994, the ex-husband of Catherine Meyer — who would later marry British ambassador Christopher Meyer — abducted her sons to Germany. While in D.C., Catherine Meyer became an advocate on parental abduction issues. Over nine years, she saw her children for just a few hours. The case was only resolved when the boys became adults and free to reunite with her.

That’s the moment Berg is waiting for, he said. He has created Web sites he hopes Gunnar and Kianna will find so “they realize that their father loves them very much and realize I was trying to get ahold of them.”

No one keeps statistics on how often criminal prosecutions are pursued in such cases. But even that doesn’t guarantee a child’s return. The FBI doesn’t have jurisdiction overseas, so it must rely on foreign authorities. Many cases reach an impasse, where children remain with the parent who has them. Often, no one can force an abducting parent to give up a child or return home, said Preston Findlay, a lawyer with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

For the parents on both sides, it’s a frustrating wait.

Gardner is “not a kidnapper, she’s a mom, and a good mom,” Gremminger said. And Berg said he continues to lose sleep wondering if he’ll see his children again. “It’s all you can think about,” he said.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Parental Abduction – The Philippines


Parental child abduction is not a crime under Philippine law.

Custody disputes are considered civil legal matters that must be resolved between the concerned parties or through the courts in the Philippines. Philippine authorities advise the American Embassy that generally the Philippine courts will give custody of children under the age of seven to the mother, provided there is no evidence that would indicate that the mother is unfit to raise the child. Although there is no treaty in force between the United States and the Philippines on enforcement of judgments, the Philippine courts will also take into consideration child custody decrees issued by foreign courts in deciding disputes regarding children residing in the Philippines.

General Information: The Philippines is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between the Philippines and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. Therefore, there is no treaty remedy by which the left behind parent would be able to pursue recovery of the child/ren should they be abducted to or wrongfully retained in the Philippines. Once in the Philippines, the child/ren would be completely subject to Philippine law for all matters including custody.

Child Abduction Recovery Services

Note: If your child is abducted to The Philippines, you will have very small chances to win the legal dispute there. The Philippines never returns abducted children. The only way is to re-kidnap the child or to make a deal with your ex spouse. It`s all about money in The Philippines.

 

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Six warning signs of possible child abduction


The incidence of international child abductions is greater than official figures reveal.

Some of the warning signs of impending abduction include:

  1. The other parent is planning a trip out of the country with your child;
  2. Your ex-spouse is coming from overseas, and you are worried they plan to abduct your child;
  3. Your ex-spouse wants you to co-sign your child’s passport without good reason;
  4. Your  child is a citizen of a country which allows one parent alone to apply for the child’s passport and you have a fear of child abduction;
  5. The other parent has a home, a family or other connections overseas and you are concerned that there is no reason for them to stay in your country;
  6. The other parent has no substantial property or employment in your country, and nothing keeping them here.

In addition, you should obtain urgent legal advice if:

  1. The other parent has already left the country with your child;
  2. You are not sure if they plan to return or if you believe they will not return;
  3. There is a link to overseas family or property;
  4. There is no other significant link to your country.

If any of the above applies to you, you should make an urgent appointment to see a family lawyer for further advice specific to your situation.

How to search for an abducted child

What steps can you take if you want to know the location of a child who you believe has been abducted? Under the Family Law Act, certain people can apply for a location order in relation to a child. A location order is an order made by a court that requires a person to provide information about a child’s location to the court.

The following people can apply for a location order: (Australia)

  • a person who a child is to live with in accordance with a parenting order;
  • a person who a child is to spend time with in accordance with a parenting order;
  • a person who a child is to communicate with under a parenting order;
  • a person who has parental responsibility for a child under a parenting order;
  • a grandparent of a child;
  • any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of a child;
  • For the purposes of the Child Protection Convention, a person (including the Commonwealth Central Authority) may apply to a court for a location order.

If you suspect a child is about to be abducted and taken out of the country you need to act quickly.

Source: Armstrong Legal

 

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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