Massachusetts resident Colin Bower lost his two sons thirteen months ago. At this point, he doesn’t know if he’ll ever get them back. That’s because his ex-wife, Mirvat el Nady, kidnapped the boys to her native Egypt, and, since that country has never ratified the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, his remedies appear to be mostly diplomatic. Read about it here (MSNBC, 9/1/10).
Bower and Nady were divorced in Massachusetts in 2008, with sole custody being granted to Bower. But last August, he took them to visit their mother. Two days later, she was in Egypt, having used forged passports for the boys.
Bower has gone to Egypt six times and been granted visitation rights there, but Nady has never allowed him to actually see the children. If she refuses one more time, apparently she’ll be in violation of Egyptian criminal law, but of course I would have thought that forging an Egyptian passport would have done that in the first place.
But whatever the case, she’s also a fugitive from international justice. She’s charged in the United States with kidnapping and Interpol has issued a warrant for her arrest. All of that puts her in hot water, but brings his children not one step closer to Colin Bower. Egyptian officials apparently know where Nady and the boys are, but so far no one is telling.
Stateside, Bower has involved the likes of Secretary of State Clinton and Bay State Senior Senator John Kerry in his quest to have his children returned, but so far there’s been no movement in that direction.
Compared to the dad in this story, Bower should count himself lucky (Southtown Star, 8/26/10). Frankfort, Kentucky dad Gerardo Serrano’s ex-wife kidnapped their son to her native Poland 10 years ago. A judge in Illinois issued an order that he have custody, but a Polish court issued a competing order in favor of the mother, including that he pay child support. When that order was sent to the Illinois Division of Child Support Services, it was treated like any other order of child support. That meant that, since Serrano wasn’t paying the woman who’d kidnapped his child, the DCSS garnished his bank account.
Serrano said the state acted hastily in trying to enforce a foreign court’s order, which was in conflict with the Cook County judge’s ruling, without knowing the details of his case and that his child was kidnapped.
“They (state) just didn’t care,” he said. “They weren’t interested in my story. It’s just about getting the highest amount of money and saying, ‘Look what we collected.’
Say, where have we heard that before?
The latest news is that an administrative law judge has ordered Serrano’s bank account unfrozen and all amounts garnished returned to him. Amazingly enough though, Serrano still may not be off the hook. The Illinois DCSS could still decide at any time to go after him and his money for a child who was kidnapped a decade ago.
Strangely enough, Poland is a signatory to the Hague Convention. For reasons I can’t fathom, that seems to have helped Gerardo Serrano not a whit.
Thanks to John for the heads-up on the Serrano case.