Dutch court orders girl's return from the US

30th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Dutch judge on Friday ordered that a man who took his seven-year-old daughter from school and flew her to the United States return her to her mother until a custody dispute is settled.

THE HAGUE - A Dutch judge on Friday ordered that a man who took his seven-year-old daughter from school and flew her to the United States return her to her mother until a custody dispute is settled.

Court documents said that the man, a former Dutch citizen naturalised in the US, had taken the girl from her school in central Ede on Wednesday, without her mother's permission, for a "short holiday."

Katja Leenderts' parents had each previously approached courts for sole custody -- the mother in the Netherlands and the father in Pennsylvania in the US.

A US court on May 20 granted the father sole custody, as well as permission to obtain a US passport for the child and to bring her to Pennsylvania.

After he took the child on Wednesday, her Ukrainian-born mother brought an urgent application before a judge in Arnhem in the south of the Netherlands for the girl's return.

The judge in Arnhem ruled on Friday that there was no treaty between the two countries that allowed the man to take the child without Dutch judicial approval of the US ruling.

Until the matter was settled, "the father has to return the child to her mother," the judge said in a ruling published on the court's website.

"Should he refuse, the mother is hereby authorised to enforce the decision with the help of the police and justice officials."

The father was also prohibited from having contact with the girl or her mother.

Police confirmed Friday that Leendertz was with her father in the United States.

She had been bundled into a car by a man while playing in the courtyard of her primary school on Wednesday morning, police had earlier said citing witnesses.

The girl's parents divorced in September 2007 after a seven-year marriage. She has joint American and Ukrainian nationality.

AFP / Expatica

0 Comments To This Article