US father of love-tug child demands justice,but condemns 'unacceptable' police raid

27th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

LA CIOTAT, France, Sept 25 (AFP) - The American father of a child at the centre of a bitter custody row called on the French authorities on Saturday to apply the law and allow him to take her back to the United States.

LA CIOTAT, France, Sept 25 (AFP) - The American father of a child at the centre of a bitter custody row called on the French authorities on Saturday to apply the law and allow him to take her back to the United States.  

"My wish is to see that the law is applied, that French authorities enforce the order that was handed down by the court of Aix-en-Provence, which ordered that my daughter was immediately returned to the United States," David Washington told AFP.  

A French court had issued a repatriation order complying with a judgment in the state of New York that awarded custody of the child - named only as Charlotte - to her American father. She was brought to France by her French mother last year.  

The girl's mother - named as Sophie M. - has been placed under judicial investigation for abduction. Both she and the child, aged four, were in hiding on Friday.  

"I haven't seen my daughter since March 17, 2003, and I love her more than anything in the world, I will never give up until I take her back home", said Washington, 37, who works in a telecommunications firm in New York.  

The case took a dramatic turn on Thursday when French police launched a raid on the school Charlotte was attending, clambering over the railings and attempting to seize the child.   

But they were thwarted after parents formed a protective barrier around her.  

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Friday joined the widespread public condemnation of the raid.   

"While decisions of justice must of course be carried out, the manner in which the police intervened - in a school and in front of children - seem unacceptable," he said.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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