Belgium seeks extradition of 'kid hunter'
14 November 2003, AMSTERDAM — Belgian authorities have asked the Netherlands to extradite a man accused of heading a masked gang, dubbed the "kid hunters", that abducted two children at the centre of a bitter custody battle in September.
14 November 2003
AMSTERDAM — Belgian authorities have asked the Netherlands to extradite a man accused of heading a masked gang, dubbed the "kid hunters", that abducted two children at the centre of a bitter custody battle in September.
The suspect, who has not been publicly named, was released on conditional bail by a Dutch court on Thursday.
He is accused of organising the snatching of the children of Russian-born pianist Alexander Warenberg on 18 September. The children are now back with their father.
A spokeswoman for the Belgian prosecutor Annemie Snoeckx told news agency Novum that Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner supports the extradition request.
The abduction took place in Hamont-Achel, near the Dutch border. Three cars with Dutch registration plates hemmed in Warenberg's vehicle and eight masked men grabbed Constance, 10, and Philippe, 8, and sped off. Warenberg's third child was not in the car.
The musician has been fighting his Dutch ex-wife over custody of the children for several years and his lawyer immediately claimed — without providing evidence — that the children were probably being brought to her family's home in Leiderdorp in the Netherlands.
Belgian police confirmed at the time that the cars appeared to drive towards the Dutch border. Later the children surfaced in the mother's home.
Warenberg, who emigrated from Russia to the Netherlands in 1977, had been hiding out with the children in Belgium since December 2002 when a Dutch court granted the mother custody. Warenberg was granted visiting rights.
The pianist claims that the woman had orchestrated a previous abduction from Belgium and had forced the children to live with her against their will for 18 months.
At the end of October this year, a court in The Hague granted custody of the children to Warenberg. The mother was allowed visitation rights for three weekends per month.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch, Belgian news