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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Children kidnapped to Israel to return to Sweden

The Supreme Court ended a long-lasting drama Wednesday, ruling that an Israeli woman must hand over her daughter and son to welfare authorities in Sweden, where their father resides, and where she kidnapped them from a year ago claiming their father abused them.

Since then, a long legal battle was sparked, where each side claimed the other parent was harming the children. Finally, the Supreme Court ruled the children, aged 6 and 11, have become instruments of war in the hands of their parents, and that they must be reassigned to the hands of a neutral side in Sweden.
The father is a Swedish citizen, and the mother is an Israeli who holds a Swedish passport. After their relationship formed, the mother moved to Sweden, where the children were born. In 2008, the couple separated after a tumultuous relationship involving Swedish police and welfare services. Social authorities in Sweden determined the children will live with the father, but last year the mother arrived to Israel with them.

The father appealed to the Petah Tikva Family Court and claimed that under the Hague Convention, the mother's act was considered kidnapping. The mother did not deny the allegations, yet claimed the father was violent towards her and the children, including sexually abusing their daughter. She added that the children fear returning to Sweden to the point of suicidal thoughts from the son.

The lawyers representing the mother claimed the act falls under Article 13b in the Hague Convention as the children are at grave risk if they return to Sweden.

A court-ordered psychologist determined the children are in difficult condition due to the situation between their parents, and recommended they be transferred to Swedish welfare. The mother appealed the decision, and the Central District Court granted the appeal, based on a psychiatric evaluation noting that the son might execute his threat to kill himself.

The father appealed to the Supreme Court claiming the danger for the minors is from their mother, and that the court's ruling sets precedent to parents seeking to abduct children in the future, who would pose empty threats of suicide in their children's mouths to prevent their return.

Two weeks ago, another drama occurred when the father claimed his son contacted him online and said the mother was abusing him. Following this, the father arrived in Israel and took the son to the police. At the end of the investigation, the boy refused to return to his mother's home and left with his father; the father claimed to the Supreme Court that due to this incident, the mother's claims of the son fearing to be with his father are false.

Supreme Court judges said the father's claim cannot be denied, and ruled to transfer the children to Swedish authorities. "The general picture is sad and sorrowing, and the decision is not easy," the judges stated. "In the new circumstances created, we cannot determine transferring (the children) to Swedish authorities for diagnosis for the boy (apart from both his parents) creates a threat to the minor's well-being, since it fully fulfills the tenets of the Hague Convention."

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